Rev. Jesse Jackson on Oprah Winfrey

I was speaking in high schools in Nashville when Oprah was a teenager. Oprah attended one of the speeches. I said that “excellence is a weapon.” Oprah has said that had a profound impact on her. Oprah won some kind of speech contest and caught the people’s eye to become a news anchor in Nashville, Tenn., at the age of 19 or 20. She obviously had that spark. Oprah is, in part, an entertainer and an emancipator. Communicating across the lines, she became an intercultural bridge builder. She has built a girl’s home in South Africa. She supported Barack Obama at the risk of losing some of her audience. She is a serious person for social justice. She’s like Nelson Mandela. She’s an emancipator.

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