Newspaper editor Marcia Lythcott was born on May 20, 1954 in Montgomery, Alabama. Her father, William Watkins, served in the U.S. Army; her mother, and Florence Watkins, a nurse’s aide. Both of her parents were avid readers. Lythcott’s mother used newspapers to introduce her and her sister, Pam, to politics. Some her favorite childhood novels and magazines were the Bobbsey Twins series, fairy tales, True Confessions magazine, Ebony and the Encyclopedia Britannica. After graduating from high school, both Lythcott and her sister attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Lythcott graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with her B.A. degree in journalism.
Lythcott began her career in print journalism in the late 1970’s. She worked for four years as an education and police beat reporter for a local newspaper in Madison-Wisconsin. Then, in 1982, she was hired by the Chicago Tribune newspaper and began writing editorial pieces. Lythcott also assisted with major research projects and served as an editor of the “Opinion” section. Her article titled “Encore!, Encore!” (1987), published in the Chicago Tribune’s “Food Guide” section, was recognized as the most popular article and Best Reprise Recipe. At the Chicago Tribune Company, she served as the editor of Style and Home and the Good Eating Cookbook. As editor of the “Commentary” section in the Chicago Tribune, Lythcott typically read seventy-five to one-hundred opinion submissions a day. Later in her career, she became one of the highest ranking African American women on the Chicago Tribune’s editorial board.
Lythcott also served on the board member of the Louis Carr Internship Foundation. Her late husband, Stephen Lythcott, served as the vice president of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois until his death in 1994. Throughout the years, her favorite pastimes have been reading, traveling, gardening and ballet.
Marcia Lythcott was interviewed by The History Makers on August 19, 2013.