B i o g r a p h y
Mary has traveled to more than 40 colleges and universities, more
than 40 public schools, hundreds of churches, libraries, and several civic education consortium trainings, performing song and narrative
of the Black South. Mary, along with friend and colleague Dr. Timothy B. Tyson, have taught a community-based college course, “The South in Black and White: History, Culture and Politics in the 20th Century South,” six times with total of roughly 1,025 students. The course has been taught at the Hayti Heritage Center in Durham, for undergraduates from North Carolina Central University, Duke University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
"Mary has truly developed into a public educator, studying North Carolina history and culture through the lens of black gospel."
Mary recenty recieved her Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her knowledge of the music and the culture from which it emerged
is not merely layman’s learning and experiential understanding,
but is rooted in serious scholarly work. Mary constantly shares
what she has learned with the public, from Duke Divinity School
to the UNC Dental School to the public school classrooms of our
state to the sanctuaries of our churches. It is her primary goal not
to just perform the best traditions of North Carolina, but to dissect
their subtleties in an accessible manner for a wide listening and learning audience. Mary is well positioned, disciplined, focused, passionate and prepared. She is considered a scholar in
professional circles and by performance.
Mary has performed and provided her voice to the soundtrack of
Blood Done Sign My Name (February 2010), which was directed
by North Carolina’s own Jeb Stuart. Mary has also performed at the North Carolina State Capitol and has been featured on Dick Gordon’s show, “The Story,” as well as on National Public Radio.
Dr. Timothy B. Tyson, author, senior research Scholar, Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, Adjunct Professor of American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel
Hill, stated, “Though her voice is uniquely her own, her music
and her message emerge from a chorus, born in the bondage of
slavery, that still speaks to our struggles against what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., called the “thingification” of human beings.
Her power as a singer and educator comes from the heart and her scholarship, from her commitment to humanity and her belief in
the God who drowned Pharaoh’s army and still seeks to let His
people go, and from her faith in the blood that has signed all our names.”