Oprah Winfrey’s ties to the Nashville area are well known. She spent a good portion of her earliest years growing up in the area while living with her father Vernon. She attended Nashville East High School and Tennessee State University. While at TSU, where she earned her degree, she was named Miss Black Tennessee.
She got her first gig in radio as a news reader at WVOL. At the age of 19, she was Nashville’s 1st African-American TV correspondent and the youngest co-anchor of the news at WTVF-TV.
When African American Lives premiered on PBS in February 2006, the series was hailed by The New York Times as “the most exciting and stirring documentary on any subject to appear on television in a long time.” Among the many vivid stories told in that four-part series, audiences and critics nationwide were especially drawn to the powerfully moving discussions between Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., series host and executive producer, and TV pioneer and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey, which revealed the struggles and accomplishments of Winfrey’s ancestors.
Now, combining new genealogical and historical research with state-of-the-art DNA analysis, Winfrey and Professor Gates continue their dramatic and illuminating quest to discover a fuller history of Winfrey’s ancestry when OPRAH’S ROOTS, an African American Lives Special premieres Wednesday, January 24 at 7 p.m. (CST) on NPT-Channel 8 and PBS stations nationwide. The program features a wealth of previously unseen material, including portions of Professor Gates’ original African American Lives interview with Winfrey and new revelations about her family history.