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Mary Eliza Mahoney's #honorit Story

Mary Eliza Mahoney is known primarily as the first African American nurse, but she also promoted diversity and equality in her profession.

Knowing she wanted to be a nurse at a young age, Mahoney went to work at the New England Hospital for Women and Children. She worked at the New England Hospital for 15 years, learning about nursing. She then joined the hospital’s nursing program at age 33 where she graduated one of only a handful of women.

During her career, Mahoney worked to bring equality in nursing. She co-founded the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses (NACGN) to be an advocacy group in the nursing world. Mahoney continued to work a 40-year career, encouraging diversity and showing her passion and love for the nursing field.

Honoring Our Ancestors

Mary Mahoney’s life and legacy have been honored over the years. In 1973, a monument was raised at her grave site making it a memorial site. She was also inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1993.

We continue to honor Mahoney and her work through the Mary Mahoney Award which acknowledges nurses who continue to promote and encourage diversity in the nursing field.

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