Oprah Winfrey: The Real Story by George Mair

By George Mair

A portrait of the preferred talk-show host chronicles Oprah Winfrey's dramatic upward thrust to luck, detailing her tricky early life, conflict with weight, profession course, charitable organizations, own lifestyles, and extra.

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She was paid $500 for a speech to a church group. For a young girl of seven that was a lot of money and a harbinger of what her poise and ability to engage an audience would mean twenty years later. It had been a busy year, and she was happy to get a summer break to visit her mother back in Milwaukee, but that visit did not turn out as planned. Vernita wanted her back permanently and wouldn't let her return to Nashville and her father and stepmother. " Vernita was determined to keep the girl; besides, once again she thought her latest man was going to marry her and give them a better home.

The rural world would soon be replaced by life in a big northern city. 2 The Years With Mother When Oprah's mother, Vernita, came to Milwaukee in 1954, she must have felt like Dorothy arriving in the Land of Oz. Vernita was part of the migration of blacks who had first swarmed north to the factories in World War II and continued to move to the big cities during the 1950s and 1960s. It was colder, but the jobs were better, the life was more exciting, and racial segregation was a little more subtle.

And she was just trying to survive. Her way of showing love to me was getting out and going to work every day, putting clothes on my back, and having food on the table. " Oprah couldn't afford to keep pace with her classmates from affluent white homes, so she stole from her mother, faked home robberies to account for missing articles she had taken, and became a thief in her search for money and peer acceptance. She was looking to be accepted and trying to rebel against parent and home. She began running away, hanging out with the crowd, chasing after anything male, and giving the boys what they wanted--sex--in exchange for what she wanted but never got from them, love and belonging.

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