Kosciusko, MS

5 Things You Didn't Know About Oprah, The Most Powerful Woman from Kosciusko, Mississippi

Jessica Ufuoma


Photo by USA Today

Oprah has recently made headlines for her interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle as they shared some intimate details with the power host and talk show superstar. Oprah has made a name in her industry and has become one of the most influential and powerful people on earth. However, many people don't know that she's from Kosciusko, Mississippi.

However, there are still many things you probably didn't know about Oprah and here are some of them.

1.) Oprah was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi

On January 29, 1954, Oprah was born to Vernita lee and Vernon Winfrey on an isolated farm in Kosciuskp, Mississippi. Oprah was born into poverty and barely had enough food for the day. Her parents seperated almost as soon as she was born and she had to stay with her maternal grandmother on the farm. While she's now a very wealthy woman, this wasn't always the case.

2.) Oprah's name was supposed to be Orpah from the bible

Oprah was named after the bible character Orpah (Ruth's sister) by her parents. This is evidence in her birth certificate. However, people always got the spelling wrong so due to the difficulty of spelling and pronunciation, she eventually settled for Oprah. Her full name used to be Orpah Gayle Winfrey.

3.) Oprah gave over $10 Million to Coronavirus Relief Funds to some of her home towns including Kosciusko, Mississippi

In 2020, Oprah announced that she was giving $10 million towards coronavirus relief measures. $9 million of those funds go to charities close to her home, including the Boys and Girls Club in Kosciusko, Mississippi which she gave $115,000 to. The other $1 million to go to America's food fund. Oprah is a philanthropist at heart and this isn't the first time she has given away huge sums of money. According to this report, Oprah has raised over $80 million through The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).

"The reason I'm talking about it is because there is going to be a need for people of means to step up,"

4.) Oprah is the richest Black woman in the world

For a while, there was a huge debate on who was the richest, between Oprah Winfrey and the Nigerian oil magnate, Folorunsho Alakija, it wasn't very clear. However, as of 2020, Oprah at an estimated $2.7 billion has claimed the crown for the richest Black woman in the world, beating Isabel Dos Santos at $2 billion and Folorunsho Alakija at $1 billion. Thanks to her excellent business acumen, success in the talk show industry, co-producing a Broadway musical called The Color Purple (she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress), her website, Oprah Radio and the Oprah Winfrey Network, her talents, hardwork, resilience and never-give-up attitude has led to her huge and remarkable success.

5.) Oprah was crowned Miss Black Tennessee in 1971

Talk about the range! Did you know Oprah was also a beauty queen in her early days? Well, now you do. Oprah won the Miss Black Tennessee in 1971. This contest is under the umbrella of the Miss Black America pageant. She has always been an important role model for many Black women growing up and she continues to break barriers with her record breaking life.

The Miss Black America pageant is a competition for young African American women in areas such as speech, talent, style, and poise — essentially the black version of the popular Miss America pageant.


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Despite Oprah's difficult childhood and humble beginnings, she has managed to make a name for herself and become a role model for many, not just the Black woman. I hope her story inspires you to shoot for the stars and become the person you are destined to be. And might I add, Kosciusko, Mississippi is lucky to have such a fantastic representative in Oprah.

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I write about lifestyle and travel experiences in the United States. I'm also passionate about Diversity and Inclusion and that reflects in some of the pieces I write. My topics range from culture, travel, uplifting marginalized voices and much more. If you're interested in these topics, feel free to hit the subscribe button.


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