Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. represents strength, service, sacrifice and, above all, possibility. Oprah says that it's thanks to him and the civil rights movement that she has become the woman she is today. In honor of Dr. King's birthday, Oprah is taking a look back at race on The Oprah Winfrey Show over the past 25 years.
In 1987, when The Oprah Show had been on the air for just six months, Oprah taped a show in Forsyth County, Georgia—which had gained a reputation for being a hotbed of racism. At the time, not a single black person had lived there for 75 years.
Oprah spoke to an audience of local community members who insisted it was their right to choose to live in a white community. After several audience members stood up to say they didn’t want a mixed-race community or they were “afraid of black people,” one brave woman spoke out to say it was a time for change. “I just hate to think that someone is going to get hurt before the people get some sense about them and talk about this and get it like it’s supposed to be...black and white together in Forsyth County. There’s no other way,” she said.
A few months ago, Oprah Show producers went back to Forsyth. It is now one of the richest counties in the United States and more than 7,000 African American citizens live there. The residents there—both black and white—say it’s a great place to live and raise a family.