Mary Mitchell's first career was as a legal secretary. Although she was working full-time and raising a family, Mitchell decided in her 40s to go back to school. Always an avid reader and passionate about writing, she earned a journalism degree. Mitchell began at the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper as an intern. "The first time I had a byline and I saw my name, I was hooked," she told Start TV.
After graduating, Mitchell was hired by the Sun-Times to be a part-time journalist. By 1991, she advanced to full-time, and with a 1995 restructuring of the paper, she was promoted to columnist. "It meant that I had a platform," Mitchell explain, and that I could be a voice for the underdog."
Today, Mitchell is both a crusader and authority on Chicago race relations.
Watch Mitchell discuss what motivated her to go back to school: