Mary Mahoney became the first Black woman to complete nurse's training in 1879.
Mary Eliza Mahoney was born on May 7, 1845 (some sources say April 16, 1845), in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. After working for several years as a private-duty nurse at Boston's New England Hospital for Women and Children, in 1878, Mahoney was admitted to the hospital's nursing program.
Pioneer of Nursing and Voting
The following year, Mary Mahoney made history when she became the first black woman to complete nurse's training. Subsequently, she became one of the first black members of the Nurses Associated Alumnae of the United States and Canada (later renamed the American Nurses Association), as well as a member of the newly founded National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses.
In addition to her pioneering efforts in nursing, Mahoney has been credited as one of the first women to register to vote in Boston following the ratification of the 19th Amendment, granting women's suffrage, on August 26, 1920.
Later Life and Career
In the early 1900s, Mahoney relocated to Long Island, New York, to serve a stint as supervisor of the Howard Orphan Asylum for Black Children, returning to Massachusetts thereafter.
Mahoney was inducted into the Nursing Hall of Fame in 1976 and received induction into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1993. She died in Boston on January 4, 1926, at the age of 80.
May 7, 1845
January 4, 1926
- Mahoney’s parents originally lived in North Carolina but before Civil War took place, they moved to the north in pursuit of a place where they would face less racial discrimination.
- At 10 years old, Mahoney was admitted into the Phillips School, one of Boston’s first integrated schools.
- At 33 years old, she was granted admission into an extensive 16-month program at the New England Hospital for Women and Children (NEHWC) in 1878.
- As part of her program training, she had to spend at least a year observing and learning in different hospital wards to gain knowledge about nursing.
- Mary Mahoney and Adah Thoms founded the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses (NACGN) in 1908.
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