Oprah Winfrey

Biography Project for Mrs. Hemry's 8th grade Language Arts class
Made By F.D.

Oprah Winfrey was born on January 29, 1954

Significant Events in History that Affected Oprah's Life

  • The Civil Rights Act( 1964 )
  • Voting Rights Act( 1965 )
  • Assassination of Martin Luther King JR.( 1968 )

Oprah's Childhood

  • Vernita, ( Oprah's Mother ) left Oprah at the age of four to find a job, because the local cotton mills shut down.
  • By the age of three, Oprah would memorize and preform dramatic readings in church.
  • By 1959, Vernita ( Oprah's mother ) wanted Oprah to come live with her in Milwaukee. Hattie, ( Oprah's Grandmother ) was getting older and was ready to let Oprah go.
  • Going from farmland in Mississippi with her grandmother, to city in Milwaukee with her mother, was difficult for Oprah.
  • Oprah later moved in with her father in Tennessee when she was because her mother couldn't take care of three kids.  

People Who Influenced Oprah's Life

  • Hattie Mae Lee (Oprah's Grandmother) - Raised her while her mother was working in Milwaukee.
  • Vernon Winfrey (Oprah's Father) - Also raised her when Oprah turned eight. He was very strict, but still caring. He helped Oprah improve her life.
  • Mary Duncan (Oprah's 4th grade teacher) -  Inspired her, and helped her when she was having a rough time.   

Unique Facts

  • Oprah's original name is Oprah from the Old Testaments Book of Ruth, but people were mispronouncing her name " Oprah " and it just stuck.
  • She slept with a clothes pin on her nose, because she wanted to look like the child star Shirley Temple.
  • She was moved ahead from Kindergarten to 1st grade, because she was more advanced. Also, she was moved form the 3rd grade, to the 4th.
  • There is a sign marking where the house used to be that Oprah grew up in.


  • Oprah won a speech contest sponsored by the local African American Elks Club. The prize was a four year scholarship.
  • She played the role "Sophia" in the movie "The Color Purple".
  • Oprah was the weekend anchor at WTVF and her salary was 15,000 a year.
  • In 1998, Oprah received a Lifetime Achievement award from the Daytime Emmy Awards and a award for "Best talk show."
  • The Oprah Winfrey Show lasted 25 years. The show first arrived in September 8, 1986 and ended in 2011.   

Significance of Oprah  

Oprah's show was the number one talk show for the entire 25 year run. She was very well known for how well she talked, and was offered many jobs that were associated with talking. ( such as news reporters, etc.)

Words of Advice From Oprah

Someone once told Oprah " You are literally dragging the weight of your past into your present, and that makes it hard to move forward."

Theme of Oprah's lIFE

Oprah had a pretty bad childhood growing up, but aside all of that, she became very successful. No matter what happened to Oprah, she always kept her head held high and stayed positive. She was very down to Earth and generous, she loved to help people. Oprah gave many donations, and even opened a school. The school was called "The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, opened in January, 2007.

Works Cited

  • "Oprah Winfrey." PEOPLE.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Apr. 2014.
  • Cooper, Ilene. Oprah Winfrey: A Twentieth-century Life. New York: Viking, 2007. Print.

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