Founders


Mother Mary Carter Smith

Beloved Mary Carter Smith

 
On April 24, 2007, Mary Carter Smith made her transition. Mother Mary, as she is affectionately known, was a visionary, poet, teacher, Historian, chronicler of the values and principles of the people.  She was revered nationwide for reviving and promoting storytelling as an art form, as a teaching method, and as a form of communication.
 
She was a teacher in the Baltimore City Public School system for thirty-one years and volunteered her services hosting a Saturday morning radio program, “Griot for the Young and the Young at Heart,” for twenty-five years.  In 1983 Mother Mary was named the official Griot of Baltimore City and, in 1991, was named the official Griot of Maryland.  

In 1983 Mother Mary and Mama Linda Goss co-founded the first:  "In the Tradition..." Black Storytelling Festival and together in 1984, they co-founded the Association of  Black Storytellers now called the National Association of Black Storytellers (NABS). The organization was incorporated August 30, 1990. Mother Mary was awarded the Zora Neale Hurston Award in 1985; proclaimed “Mother Griot” in 1994; received the Lifetime Achievement Award and The Circle of Excellence Award from the National Storytelling Association in 1996;and, her image is celebrated at the Great Blacks in Wax Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.  Mother Griot’s numerous achievements and recognitions affirmed her as an international treasure and a living legend.

Mother Mary is co-founder of Big Brothers-Big Sisters of Maryland, founding member of Big Brothers-Big Sisters of America, the Arena Players and the Griots’ Circle of Maryland, founder of the Citizens’ Coalition for Urban Survival, a graduate of Coppin State University, and she was a devoted member of Huber Memorial Church of Christ and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.

In the true sense of the meaning of “Griot,” Mother Mary excelled. She has written countless numbers of books of poetry and stories. With her inspiration, storytelling continues to be an important voice in this global community; a voice that spoke of God’s Love, Peace and Understanding between the peoples of the world.

Tributes:

Soliloquy to Mother Griot by Beverly Burnette

Tribute by Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.

Tribute from Keepers of the Culture

Tribute by Mitch Capel

Mama Linda Goss

Mama Linda Goss

Mama Linda Goss is an award winning storyteller, author and visionary! She was born Linda Yvonne McNear into a storytelling family. She learned the art of storytelling while growing up near the foothills of the Smoky Mountains in an aluminum factory town named Alcoa, TN. During family gatherings, Linda would sit quietly and listen to her grandfather Murphy, her parents, aunts and uncles laugh, gossip and swap stories. Since then, Linda has gathered stories from personal experience and hundreds of folktales over decades of study and performance that fill her repertoire. She greets audiences wherever she goes with bells ringing and chanting, ‘Well, oh well, oh well! It’s Storytelling Time!’

Bio of Linda Goss

Linda Goss
Official Storyteller of Philadelphia
Award Winning Storyteller and Author
1556 Waverly Way
Baltimore, MD 21239
443-835-4331