Mary Ross Smith

A Soul Survivor explores the depths of human emotions, both real and imagined.

Soul Survivor explores the depths of human emotions, both real and imagined. That any of us reach adulthood in one piece, emotionally or physically is a miracle of no small proportion. That any of us reach adulthood to contribute back to society and become highly respected in the community is truly a gift of time and place.

Soul Survivor is a true story of fortitude, an iron will and looking to the future in the hope that tomorrow will be better than today. Soul Survivor is nothing less than a story of triumph.  “Little Mary” spent her childhood living, playing, and working in a funeral home. Her mother “Big Mary” was co-owner of a well known and respected mortuary in the African-American community in Los Angeles, CA. Little Mary’s story tells what really happens behind the embalming room doors- the light and dark side of life. Soul Survivor is both humorous and mischievous, and talks of sex, murder, voodoo, phony preachers and deviate gravediggers.

Famous entertainers that passed through Little Mary’s life include Redd Foxx, Lou Rawls, Sam Cooke, Billy Preston and Johnnie Cochran.

Little Mary was born in Shreveport, LA and reared in Los Angeles, CA. Often disparagingly referred to as “high-yellow.” During the racial tensions of the ‘50s and ‘60s Little Mary found her hue to be a major issue but not her only problem.  Mary’s mother caused her to endure life threatening situations due to her drinking and wild ways. Little Mary’s childhood experiences, the mental and physical abuse faced each day, led her to believe that her only true friends were the dead people in the funeral home. Indeed, Little Mary received a BS degree (Be Smart) at an early age. It was the only way she knew to survive.

Little Mary’s story is an unlikely but revealing peek into the unexpected and in the end, truly a story of a Soul Survivor.

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