The narrator of this story is Mama Johnson, mother of Dee (Wangero) and Maggie. We never learn Mama's first name, as she only goes by Mama to her daughters. At one point, early in the story, Mama imagines herself on television, looking and behaving just the way her daughter, Dee, would want her to, with fair skin and a quick wit, however, "Who ever knew a Johnson with a quick tongue?" she asks. Thus, we know that her last name, at least, is Johnson.
Mama lives in the south, Georgia, most likely, since Mama references the money she raised to send Dee away to school in Augusta, a well-known city in this state. She has a small home that she shares with her daughter, Maggie, and they have some livestock and land as well. She is a tough woman, capable of doing manual labor and farm work most often associated with men.