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Her frustrated mother once again sent her to live with Vernon in Nashville, although this time she did not take her back.Vernon was strict but encouraging, and made her education a priority.Winfrey was born into poverty in rural Mississippi to a teenage single mother and later raised in inner-city Milwaukee.She has stated that she was molested during her childhood and early teens and became pregnant at 14; her son was born prematurely and died in infancy.Their much-publicized contest was the subject of enormous scrutiny.TIME magazine wrote: Few people would have bet on Oprah Winfrey's swift rise to host of the most popular talk show on TV.In 1983, Winfrey relocated to Chicago to host WLS-TV's low-rated half-hour morning talk show, AM Chicago. Within months after Winfrey took over, the show went from last place in the ratings to overtaking Donahue as the highest-rated talk show in Chicago.

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Winfrey's syndicated show brought in double Donahue's national audience, displacing Donahue as the number-one daytime talk show in America.Winfrey later acknowledged her grandmother's influence, saying it was Hattie Mae who had encouraged her to speak in public and "gave me a positive sense of myself".Working in local media, she was both the youngest news anchor and the first black female news anchor at Nashville's WLAC-TV.1933), a coal miner turned barber turned city councilman who had been in the Armed Forces when she was born. A genetic test in 2006 determined that her matrilineal line originated among the Kpelle ethnic group, in the area that today is Liberia.However, Mississippi farmer and World War II veteran Noah Robinson Sr. Her genetic makeup was determined to be 89% Sub-Saharan African, 8% Native American, and 3% East Asian.

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