- Posted May 21, 2011 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Oprah and me
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Oprah and Me - Similar Life Experiences
I believe that nothing in this world happens by chance. Oprah Winfrey and I were both born poor, out of wedlock, African-American, female, in the South, under the sign of Aquarius in 1954. As a child Oprah and I share similar life experiences. Those experiences included feeling unloved and unwanted, having live changing realizations at age 14, abuse, and being introduced to JESUS by important women in our lives.
”When I was six or seven years old my mother and grandmother worked on the same tobacco farms in Quincy, Florida. While employed on one of the tobacco farms, my mother spoke of Dr. Martin Luther King and what would later be known as the Civil Rights Movement. The next day my grandmother informed my mother that Mr. Carter, the owner of the farm, told her to tell my mother not to come back to work.
According to Mr. Carter, my mother was fired because she mentioned that nigger Dr. Martin Luther King’s name on his farm. When granny told my mother the reason that she was fired my mother replied, “no one can tell me who I can and can’t talk about”. “God made white people and colored people and no one is better than anyone else.” “We are all equal.”
After being fired, my mother wasn’t able to find work in Quincy, Florida. She sought work and wasn’t able to get a job on any of the other local tobacco farms. At age 32 and the mother of seven children, she decided that she had to leave her birthplace, children, family, and home
One morning my mother packed each of our clothes in three separate pillowcases. She told me that I would be staying with John Davis a man she identified as my father. Mary was to live with the mother of a male family friend called Bun. Ruth was to stay with her father.
My mother told me to wait near highway 90 for John Davis to come pick me up. Later that day my mother and my brother Glenn got a ride to the Greyhound bus station. I stood and sat on the side of the highway 90 for hours waiting for John Davis to come to get me. I waited in the heat until the sun set. John Davis never came to pick me up nor did anyone come to get my sisters.
Since no one came to get us my Aunt Ruby gathered us together and stated “I told Eula Mae that I was not going to keep you all. I don’t want to keep you all but I don’t have a choice.”
My mother lived and worked in New York State for two years. While working in New York, she mailed us birthday gifts, toys for Christmas, and clothes. The toys were beautiful dolls and tea sets. She also sent money to my aunt for supporting us. Although we had more things and more clothes because my mother was away, I would have given anything to be with my mother.
When I was 11 years old, my mother married my stepfather Roy Sailor. Later that same year I confessed Jesus Christ as my Savior and was baptized in the Little River. Although we were dirt poor my mother gave me an invaluable gift. She introduced me to a man named Jesus. My mother’s priceless gift to my siblings and I has kept me and continues to protect, guide, and provide for me today.
After I confessed Christ I held on the instruction given to me by my mother about prayer. She told us that there might be a time when you can’t pray or you don’t know what to pray. She said during those times just called on the name of Jesus. She told us that the name of Jesus was a prayer itself.
After I returned to Lake Wales Junior High School two major events happened to me, in my 9th grade Civic class. One of the events would change my life forever. I was introduced to the U.S. Constitution in the same Civics class. I listened intensely as the teacher explained the constitutional protection of the13th and 14th Amendments of the United States Constitution.
Thirteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. Section 2. Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
The Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution - Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law, which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
The fact that the Fourteenth Amendment contained the due process and equal protection clauses meant more to me than my teacher would ever know. The knowledge that all Americans are protected by “our” constitution changed my whole outlook on life.
My mother’s statement made years earlier that we are all equal because GOD made us all raced through my mind. I realized and accepted the fact that GOD really did make all people equal. The knowledge and acceptance of this fact coupled with my newfound understanding of the meaning of the 13th and 14th amendments guarantees would order and guide me for the rest of my life to my divine destiny and purpose.
For the first time in my life I had hope. As an American these two amendments insured me that my future would be brighter and different than that of my mother. I would achieve my mother’s dream for me to graduate from high school. I would also accomplish my new dream for myself to graduate from college. My new dream now consisted of graduating from college, having a husband, having children that shared the same last name, and living in a beautiful house.”
Copyrighted material from the chapter titled “The Early Years in my Life of my book Screwed by Former Governor and Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. The material in this I-Report titled Oprah Winfrey and my Divine Purpose May be reprinted, broadcast, and used by CNN and the world.