I Was Responsible for Myself, and I Had To Make Good

Oprah Winfrey? Anne Saidman? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: At an early age U.S. talk show host, producer, and entrepreneur Oprah Winfrey believed that she was responsible for her own choices and actions. She worked hard to make a good life and obtain success. One of her inspirational quotations used the phrase “responsible for myself”. Would you please help me to find a citation?

Quote Investigator: The 1990 book “Oprah Winfrey: Media Success Story” by Anne Saidman described Winfrey’s activities as a volunteer. She often delivered speeches at churches, YMCAs, and shelters. She helped form a Big Sisters group to support young women in a Chicago housing project. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1

She encourages the girls in the group to stay in school, get an education, and take responsibility for their futures. Her advice to them has a lot to do with how she sees herself: “I don’t think of myself as a poor deprived ghetto girl who made good. I think of myself as somebody who from an early age knew I was responsible for myself, and I had to make good.”

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

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  1. 1990, Oprah Winfrey: Media Success Story by Anne Saidman, Chapter 6: Spectacular Success, Quote Page 41 and 42, Lerner Publications Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Verified with scans)