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Humanitarian, philanthropist, actress, producer, and counselor, Oprah Winfrey has persevered and reached the top of the media monarchy as a black African-American woman, in a time when women were not considered of much worth, and the colour barrier was still in effect. As a young girl, Oprah lived with her grandmother, who was so poor, she was often taunted for her usage of potato sacks for dresses. Despite these hardships, she has persevered to overcome them. She later accredited her grandmother for "giving her a good sense of herself". Being raped at the age of 9 by her uncle, family friend, and cousin, led her to one of her more personal acts of service, the Oprah Child Predator Watch List. The list which was launched upon her website apprehended 2 child predators within 48 hours. Competent at public speaking skills, Oprah climbed the ranks throughout her life; she led a low rated Chicago talk show, to the number one place, in just a few months. All these skills have led Oprah to be one of the most influential people of all time.
Oprah has faced many adversities throughout her life that required her to have great skills of perseverance. Born to unwed parents Winfrey was abandoned by her mother and left with her grandmother, Hattie Mae Lee, to mother her. Oprah once commented that she had chosen not to mother because she was not mothered well herself. Though she highly respected her grandmother for again, "giving her a good sense of herself". Oprah had to face many difficulties while living on her grandmother's property. Her only friends were the crows on the fence and her corncob doll with which Hattie Mae says Oprah used to interview, so her choice of job was not a surprise. But despite her positive outlook on life, Oprah was forced into be an outcast, having to fashion potato sacks into dresses, which the local kids teased her for. As if this wasn't enough the future media superstar was raped by her uncle, family friend and cousin, while living with her mother in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at just the young age of nine. Finally, after years of abuse she ran away from home at the age of thirteen. At fourteen the young Oprah became pregnant and her son died during birth. Presumably returning back home, Oprah began high school at Lincoln High School, but not long after was discovered by the Upward Bound Program that allowed students to better prepare for college by taking higher level courses. As a result, she was transferred to Nicolet High School, where another challenge of seeing her own poverty was presented, as she rode to school with fellow African-Americans, many of whom were house staff of her peers. Slipping from her true path, Winfrey started stealing from her mother, in an attempt to keep up with her peers who could spend their money with ease. Her frustrated mother sent her to Nashville, Tennessee, where her stricter father sent her back upon the correct path. Despite all the past difficulties, Vernon's strictness ensured that Oprah tried her best, which resulted in her being voted Most Popular Girl, and joined the East Nashville speech team in which she placed second in a dramatic representation class out of the whole of the nation. Despite her past, Oprah overcame her troubles by persevering, while also learning to improve the skills that were presenting themselves to her, being competent.
At a young age, Oprah's speaking skills were readily noticed by those around her. Placing second in a nationwide competition would not have been common for someone with her background. But as if to prove to everyone that she was competent, she again won an oratory competition, this time receiving the blue ribbon, and having a scholarship ensured to Tennessee State University, which was historically black, where she studied an obvious choice, communication. Again, showing of her skills to excel in all areas, Winfrey secured the title of Miss Black Tennessee, at the age of 17. Her senior year was the beginning of her media career as she worked on a local black radio station for three years. Working as the youngest and first black female anchor, Winfrey blew all of the odds out of the water on Nashville's WLAC-TV. She moved to Baltimore where she co-anchored the evening news, and then moved on with Richard Sher to co-anchor the talk show, "People Are Talking". Finally her opportunity to shine presented itself, though very shyly. Oprah was relocated to Chicago to host the lowly rated talk show AM Chicago. Just after months Oprah shot AM to the top of charts, conquering Donahue as the top spot in Chicago. "Donahue", is the show accredited for creating the "tabloid talk show genre". Not long after, Oprah signed a deal with King World productions. It was then renamed, "The Oprah Winfrey Show". Again overturning all the odds Winfrey captured the attention double that of Donahue's audience, after the first broadcast, September 8, 1986, replacing him as the number one talk show in America. Oprah Winfrey persevered while at the same time showing she was competent with many of her skills. Winfrey wasn't satisfied though. She created major acts of service through her show, and broadened her show to include health topics, spirituality and many other varying topics. It was accredited by Time Magazine as quoted,Â "It is the talk show as a group therapy session."
In 1991, Winfrey made her first real, nationwide act of service as she testified in front of the United States Judiciary Committee to initiate the National Child Protection Act, which contains a nationwide database of convicted child abuse. In just two years, Bill Clinton signed the Oprah Bill, but for Oprah this was just the beginning. She launched "Oprah's Book Club", to help undiscovered writers be nationally recognized. Her goal was achieved as at least sixty of these books became instant bestsellers. Thinking she still wasn't already doing her part, the influential billionaire launched "Oprah's Angel Network", a charity close to her heart, as it supports women, children, and families with educational and empowerment activities and other helpful needs. Oprah's good deeds and service were recognized by the first ever Bob Hope Humanitarian Award, which of course, just encouraged her to do more good by launching Oprah Winfrey's Leadership Academy for Girls, located in South Africa. Her dark childhood was soon brought back, as the academy became part of a sexual abuse scandal. But using her hands on approach Oprah cleared the school of the scandal, as well as, giving each girl a programmed cell phone with her personal number on it. Again expanding the angel network, Oprah created a Katrina Home Registry which helped victims of hurricanes recover from their losses and created efforts to build new homes. As if she wasn't happy with the "Oprah Bill" she created Oprah's Child Predator Watch List. Within the first forty-eight hours, two alleged child molesters were apprehended. In 2007, after sixteen years of service Oprah was presented the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity's Humanitarian Award.
Oprah Winfrey is a woman of good service, competent skills, and above all has the ability to persevere like no other. Her service in this world is immense, and she is a woman of considerate stature. Oprah has faced many difficulties in this life, but nothing has stopped her. An influential icon, she will be remembered forever beyond her time, along with those such as Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, and others who have had a lasting influence in our world. Such candidates as previously mentioned did not let the slightest trial test them. They just kept persevering, exactly like Oprah. The iconic media superstar, has played an everlasting role in our society, and until the day she dies, will be considered as the most influential female anchor. She may have had broken beginnings, but Oprah Gale Winfrey, will never be forgotten.