Oprah Reveals Why Her Mother Made Her Sleep Outside In The Dark As A Child

Posted On : June 27, 2017

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Oprah Winfrey is worth $3 billion, but as we could all imagine, that $3 billion didn’t come without a hefty price tag. Winfrey’s price tag began accumulating long before Oprah was THE Oprah Winfrey- the first African American female billionaire/mega-talk show icon/great humanitarian, etc.. As many of us have heard, Oprah had to endure a lot of pain throughout her life, including getting repeatedly raped by her family members and one relative who even impregnated her at the age of 14.

The sexual assaults began when Oprah was nine, but prior to that, she was assaulted in another way at the age of six. This assault was more of a psychological/self-esteem assault thrusted upon her by a brainwashed ignorant adult.

Oprah Explains Why She Had Her Sleep Outside As A Kid

In a prior interview with Huffington Post, Oprah recalled a time when her Mother made her sleep outside at just six years old.

Oprah and her mother, Vernita Lee

During the first six years of her life, Oprah had been living with her grandmother, Hattie Mae Lee, in Mississippi. Then at six, her mother, Vernita Lee, sent for her to move to Wisconsin, where Vernita was finally able to get on her feet and earn a living as a housemaid. The only problem was that the woman her mom lived with was her employer- a light skin Black woman named Ms. Miller, who hated the color of Oprah’s skin and therefore forbade her from sleeping inside of her home. Apparently Oprah’s mother allowed her daughter to sleep outside on the woman’s front porch, while Oprah’s light skin sister got to sleep indoors. What the HELL?!! See what Oprah explained about this below: (Via HuffPost)

Oprah: “My mother was boarding with this very light-skinned Black woman who could have passed for White… I could tell instantly when I walked in the room that she didn’t like me. It was because of the color of my skin. […] I remember the first night [of moving in with her mother and the Ms. Miller] entering into that house and being told that I wouldn’t be able to sleep with my mother and I wouldn’t be able to sleep inside the house. […] There was a little foyer/porch before you actually got inside the house. I was put outside to sleep there.”

Relied On Her Religious Roots To Get Her Through While Sleeping Outside

Young Oprah Winfrey standing in front of their Missisippi home with her mother

It was around this time, that Oprah earned the nickname “the preacher” among her family and friends, because she was able to recite many Bible verses at the drop of a dime. That was something taught to her by her stern grandmother, Vernita. That was also something she relied on heavily as she slept outside on the porch as a child:

Oprah: “I remember praying on my knees the very first night I had been removed from my grandmother,” explained Oprah. “I don’t remember ever shedding a tear about it because I knew that God was my father, Jesus was my brother, and they were with me.”

Oprah also revealed, in her Henry Gates written biography, Finding Oprah’s Roots, that Ms. Miller adored her lighter skin sister, but hated her because, “I was nappy-headed colored child.”

If only Ms. Miller were alive today to watch that beautiful child- with the gorgeous “nappy hair”- grow up to become a success and a far better woman than she, herself, ever was, nor than she could have ever imagined Oprah would be.

Why Didn’t Her Mother Contest?

As far as why Oprah’s mother allowed her baby to sleep outside on a porch? That wasn’t cleared up by Oprah, so we’ll save that topic for another day. Although, based on that fact alone, it’s evident that Oprah’s mom had some deep rooted issues as well that clearly affected her psychological and emotional well being at that time. Most parents would have chosen to be homeless on the street and make a way outta no way, before they allowed and/or participated in someone blatantly harming/disrespecting their child.

The beautiful thing is that Oprah has found peace within those heart wrenching facts and has not allowed her past to break her. Job well done Ms. Winfrey.


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