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oprah winfrey family tree
Oprah Winfrey Family Tree
  When asked who is the most powerful and well respected black person in the world -- everybody thinks of Oprah Winfrey. The story of the Oprah Winfrey family tree begins in Mississippi with her birth, but extends all across the eastern portion of the United States. Her maternal grandmother shaped her early life filled with reading books and public speaking experiences at the local church. The rich Oprah Winfrey family tree does not find its wealth in financial security, but with a foundation of reading and speaking publically.

Oprah Winfrey Biography
The Oprah Winfrey biography begins with her birth to young unwed parents Vernon Winfrey and Vernita Lee in Mississippi on June 29, 1954. Oprah was raised by her maternal grandmother, Hattie Mae Lee, until the age of 6 where she learned to read the Bible and was introduced to public speaking in the local church.

Upon her grandmother's illness, Oprah was sent to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to live with her mother and half sister, Patricia. This living arrangement only lasted one year until she was shifted to live with her father, Vernon and stepmother, Zelma in Nashville Tennessee. During a visit with her mother, Oprah remained for a number of years. This time was not good because at the age of 9, she was raped by a family member and subsequently other family members did the same thing. Oprah began acting out and her mother realized she could not handle her daughter, so Oprah went back to the stability of living with her father in Nashville. Upon arriving there, she had the biggest blow of her childhood, giving birth to a son at the age of 14. Sadly, the baby boy died after 2 weeks.

Oprah Winfrey thrived while living with her father. At 17, Oprah won the title of Miss Fire Prevention which gave her the change to earn a job reading the news on a local radio station. The gig at the radio station earned Oprah Winfrey a 4 year scholarship. The sky was the limit for Oprah in her career in broadcasting. Oprah became a staple in every home with her Oprah Winfrey show. Now she is embarking on a new endeavor, her own cable TV network, OWN.

Oprah Winfrey Family Tree
Oprah Winfrey Father - Vernon Winfrey (B. 1933 in Mississippi)
Vernon Winfrey was born in Mississippi to Elmore and Beatrice Winfrey. Vernon was 20 when Oprah was born and moved to Nashville to start his life as a barber. Vernon Winfrey married his wife Zelma and welcomed his only daughter, Oprah into his home and tried to give her life direction. As an adult, Oprah commended her father for being the foundation for her success. Oprah stated during an inaugural speech for the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy in 2007, "What you have seen I have done, and what you have heard I have done. None of this would have been possible without my father."

Oprah Winfrey Mother - Venita Lee (b. 1935 in Mississippi)
The mother of Oprah Winfrey gave birth to her out of wedlock at the age of 18. Vernita left home for Milwaukee leaving her aging mother to raise Oprah in Mississippi. She worked odd jobs as a maid and earned assistance from welfare to support her family. Venita became pregnant gave up a daughter when Oprah was 9 and living with her father in Nashville, TN. Oprah Winfrey's little sister, Patricia, was discovered 47 years later when Patricia search for her birth mother and the trail led to Vernita. Oprah acknowledges Vernita as her mother, but their relationship is not as close as most mother-daughter relationships would be.

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