I knew I wasn't stupid, and I knew I wasn't dumb.... They knew I wasn't lazy, but what was it?”
About This Billboard
Whoopi Goldberg was born in New York City in 1955, as Caryn Johnson. She spent the first years of her life in a public housing project in Manhattan. Over the course of a turbulent early life, she survived poverty, drug addiction, single motherhood and a stint on welfare to become one of America's most beloved entertainers.
Growing up, however, Goldberg also struggled with dyslexia and, as a result, dropped out of high school.
"I knew I wasn't stupid, and I knew I wasn't dumb. My mother told me that. Everybody told me I wasn't stupid or dumb. If you read to me, I could tell you everything that you read. They didn't know what it was. They knew I wasn't lazy, but what was it?"
As an adult, she finally found the reason for her reading struggles—dyslexia. As Goldberg once recounted, "I learned from a guy who was running a program, and he had written a sentence on a board. And I said to him, 'You know, I can't read that.' And he said, 'Why not?' And I said, 'Because it doesn't make any sense to me.' So he said, 'Well, whatever you see, write exactly what you see underneath.' And so, he brought me to letters by coordinating what I saw to something called an A, or a B, or a C, or a D, and that was pretty cool."
Goldberg has reported that reading still takes effort, but time and practice have made it easier. Most important, she never allowed her learning challenge to stand in her way. Instead, she became one of an elite group of actors who have won Grammy, Academy Award, Golden Globe, Emmy and Tony recognitions. Today, Goldberg has come a long way from a teenage mother to one of the most powerful women in show business, thanks to hard work—including the hard work of believing in herself.
Hard Work. Pass It On!
This billboard about Hard Work features Whoopi Goldberg; comedian, actress, political activist.
See Other Inspiring Billboards
something to look up to
I have always loved you Whoopi but hearing that you have dyslexia is very good for me because if you where able to do what you did then i could to it too. LOVE YOU WHOOPI.
Emily Rose Duplin 11, USA
Hard Work!! PASS IT ON
I have ADD and ADHD and its very hard to overcome. I think its great because shes dyslexic and she did it. She proves that you can overcome anything when you set your mind to it.
You r really cool and I look up to u
Maddy , Wi
Dreadlocks are cool!
I have followed your career for many years and so proud of you. Through television I am honored to see your patience intelligence and your calm spirit.
Lady Di, Tacoma, WA
I love you
Good for her, for over coming dyslexia.
Molly B, CT
Whoopi Goldberg is funny! I saw her on this show called The Veiw once :D
What a big thing to overcome.
I love you Whoopi! I never knew that about you.
I'm the only one who sees the spelling mistake??
Pablo, Newark nj
I have dyslexia. My teacher found out in 1st grade. Then my parents told me in the middle of 2st grade. Now I am in 7th grade and it's still been very hard. I actually I just found out about this poster today. This poster is in my math teacher's room. If i had it my way I would not read at all. If any one has suggestions of books in the 4th to 5th grade level but a little more on the 5th grade side please send me back. P.S. I like mystery books! Yours always Erin
Erin, Chicago, IL
That is the reason I love Whoopi Goldberg!
Indya Conover, Two Rivers Magnet Middle School
I am only 2 years older than Whoopi and I struggled with dyslexia my whole life. Everyone called me stupid, even my teachers and I felt like such a loser. I now know I am a smart, caring woman.
Dee Z., New Jersey
That's a good picture of her.
steph m, collingwood ont
Good poster by the way.
John K., Portland, OR
Christmas Eve I had dinner with my mother at a Pizza Hut. There was a young kid (maybe 10 years old) with an apron and uniform on busing tables and cleaning. He was doing that while waiting for his mother to get off of work. I left him a note that said "Merry Christmas Little Brother" and left five dollars for him.
Dustin K., Chandler, AZ
I'm one of the Mother's Against Dyslexia: DAM...
My daughter will never LOVE reading, but when since finishing the Susan Barton system she CAN read the autobiography of Kat Von D, Whoopi and others who inspire and perservere!!!
Ann W, San Diego, CA