Oprah reveals why she keeps a 6-foot painting of enslaved woman in her home

Monica Otayza
Jun 12, 2018
12:35 P.M.

Oprah Winfrey was recently honored through an exhibit showing her life and work at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. However, she recently revealed that despite all her success, she will always come back home to a 6-foot painting of an enslaved woman in her home.


This striking painting reminds her of those who made it possible for her to become the pioneer that she is today. During the opening of her exhibit, Winfrey shares that she keeps the "6-foot painting of an enslaved woman on the auction block while holding her daughter's hand" right in the middle of her home so that despite everything that she achieves in her life, she remains grounded.


“I cannot come in the door ... or I cannot leave, without passing that painting. I am reminded of where I come from every day of my life. I am reminded every day of my life. And I am reminded because I never want to forget it.”


Oprah shares that she has owned the painting for 30 years, titled "To the Highest Bidder" by Harry Roseland. She deliberately wanted to place the painting at the center of her home so that she is reminded to keep it the center of her life.


Winfrey also said that in her library, she has a list of enslaved African Americans listed in ledgers along with livestock and property which she passes every single day. Sometimes, she even speaks to herself reading those people's names and ages.

"Jonas, 11 years old, $500, Sarah, 41 years old, $900, Elizabeth, 57 years old, $800. And I force myself to observe the absurdity and the obscenity of prices being affixed to each one should they be placed up for sale. It reminds me, speaking those names, not only how far I've come from, but how far I have to go, because of them. And it reminds me that I am never alone."


Oprah Winfrey was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi, to an unmarried teenage mother. Her mother Vernita Lee worked as a housemaid, while her father Wernon Winfrey was a coal miner, turned barber, turned city councilman, who was at the Armed Forces when she was born. She began to work in a local media station in Nashville, Tenessee after graduating college, being the youngest news anchor and the first black female news anchor in WLAC-TV. By the 1990's, "The Oprah Winfrey Show" was born, and since then, Oprah has been one of the most influential people on television, amassing a net worth of more than 2 billion dollars.

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