Born into Hardship
Oprah Gail Winfrey was born on January 29, 1954, to Vernita Lee who was only eighteen years old at the time. She was born in a small town called Kosciusko, Mississippi in her Grandma’s house with help from a midwife. Her father was named Vernon Winfrey. She was born at a time where segregation was still a part of the American South. When Oprah was only four years in 1958, her mother packed her bags and moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin without her. Vernita hoped to find work as a maid and make a better life for herself. Oprah was left to live with her grandmother Hattie Mae. Hattie Mae loved Oprah very much. Oprah was hit with a stick every day by her grandmother who believed that this was the way to raise an unspoiled child.
Oprah was forced to do chores such as hanging laundry, making soap, and working on the farm. Oprah had no friends, so she just played on the farm with all of the animals. She named the chickens and the pigs. Oprah even told the animals stories. Hattie Mae’s house had no indoor plumbing. Oprah needed to carry water from the well every morning and night. The water was used for drinking, washing dishes, and their weekly baths. By 1960 her grandmother had become ill and was sent to live with her mother in Milwaukee. Vernita lived in a single room boardinghouse where her meals were included in the rent. She had given birth to Oprah’s half-sister Patricia. While Oprah’s mom and half-sister slept inside, Oprah was put out on the porch. Vernita worked long hard hours and had very little time to care for her two daughters. “Her mom adored Patricia because she was light-skinned,” Oprah said later.
Life with Her father
It was early 1962 and Oprah was seven years old when her mother Vernita decided she could not support Oprah financially any longer. Vernita sent Oprah to live with her father and stepmother Zelma in Nashville, Tennessee. Vernon had moved to Nashville after his service in th...