Overcoming Obstacles: Oprah Winfrey

Sydney Cummings Wed. March 16, 2016

Oprah Winfrey is a very inspirational speaker. She delivers speeches at almost every event she can. Her story is what makes her so fascinating. From poor to riches, misused and abused; this is her story.


Friday, Jan. 29th 1954 at 12am

Kosciusko, MS, United States

Kosciusko, MS

Oprah on Believing in Yourself | Oprah's Lifeclass | Oprah Winfrey Network


Oprah was born into a single mother family after her dad wasn't there for her birth. Her mother wasn't completely stable which forced Oprah to have to move back and forth, constantly rotating between her grandmother,mom, and dad. By the age of 14 she had moved about 8 different times. When in the care of her grandmother she was beaten for everything wrong-done. Oprah tells a story about the time she was whipped on her hands so badly her knuckles began to bleed and then was whipped again for getting blood on her grandmother's Sunday Dress. At the age of 6, she was sent to Milwaukee to live with her mother and was constantly neglected due to her mother's hardworking job. When she was 9, she was left in the care of her 19 year old cousin who would rape her and later that year her mother's boyfriend started raping her also. At just 13, she ran away from home and later got pregnant at 14 and lost the baby hours after the birth.

Her Turning Point/Rescue

After losing the baby she went to stay with her dad in which a home that education was enforced. She attended Nashville East High School. She participated in anything relating to public speaking,writing and drama. By the time of graduation she had been accepted into Tennessee State University after she won a public speaking contest.

A Few Things Oprah Knows For Sure

Oprah has written a book about everything she knows on success. The book What I know For Sure was published on September 2nd 2014 and is still inspiring people today. Oprah tells us that " One thing i know is..Whatever someone did to you in the past has no power over the present. Only you give it power (Winfrey)". Everyone should take from this that the past is the past. If you can't move on and forgive, yet never forget than you'll be held back from better things until you release. The past shouldn't control your future.


  • Oprah Winfrey is the richest Self-Made woman in America.
  • Her net worth is $3.1 Billion and counting.
  • She's also one of the most influential.
  • She has received many awards such as the National Community Service Award and an Emmy for being the best talk show host.
  • She was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in The Color Purple.
  • Oprah created and launched her own television network called Own. She also has a monthly subscription magazine called O, The Oprah Winfrey Magazine
  • Oprah was ranked in the "top 50 most generous Americans" after giving close to $400 Million to educational causes.
  • She also received the Presidential Award Of Freedom in 2013.

What to Take From This

The overall theme of her life is to take life one positive day at a time and never allow obstacles to stop you. The key to success is a positive attitude, Oprah stated " The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude" (Street). Think of life obstacles like hurdles and everything gone wrong is a hurdle, if running track you wouldn't stay stuck at the same hurdle you'll work hard enough to jump over it. That's simply how life works, when things happen you have to keep going and sometimes if you think big enough your struggle brings you to success.
Oprah Winfrey's Biography

There's more if you would like to read more about her life and accomplishments you can visit her website.

Works Cited

Cicero. L.A “Oprah delivering speech at Stanford Commencement” Photograph. Stanford

News. Stanford University, June 15,2008. Tue. 15 March 2016

Oprah Winfrey." 2016. The Famous People website. Mar 15 2016 //www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/oprah-winfrey-2484.php.

OWN. “Oprah on Believing in Yourself | Oprah's Lifeclass | Oprah Winfrey Network.” Online video clip. Youtube. Youtube, 13 Oct. 2011. Wed. 16 March 2016.

Street, Elizabeth. "Overcoming Obstacles: What Oprah Winfrey Learned From Her Childhood of Abuse - K12 - Learning Liftoff - Free Parenting, Education, and Homeschooling Resources." K12 Learning Liftoff Free Parenting Education and Homeschooling Resources. K12 Inc., 07 Jan. 2015. Web. 16 Mar. 2016.