mary eliza mahoney
mary eliza mahoney
Mary Eliza Mahoney
- Mary Eliza Mahoney was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in the spring of 1845. Her precise date of birth is unclear. Mahoney was born to emancipated slaves who had relocated to Boston from North Carolina, and he learned the value of racial equality at a young age. She attended Phillips School in Boston, which became one of the country’s first integrated schools after 1855.
- Mahoney knew she wanted to be a nurse when she was in her teens, so she started working at the New England Hospital for Women and Children. The hospital was solely dedicated to caring for women and their children. It was also unique in that it featured an all-female medical staff. For the next 15 years, Mahoney worked in a variety of capacities within the company. She took on the roles of cleaner, chef, and washerwoman. She also got the opportunity to work as a nurse’s aide, which allowed her to get valuable experience in the field of nursing.
- One of the first nursing schools in the United States was located at the New England Hospital for Women and Children. Mahoney was enrolled in the hospital’s professional graduate school for nursing in 1878, at the age of 33. The 16-month curriculum was extremely demanding.
- Students took part in lectures and got hands-on experience in the hospital. Because of the program’s numerous prerequisites, many students were unable to complete it. Only four of the 42 students who started the program in 1878 finished it in 1879. Mahoney was one of the women who completed the program, making her the first African American woman to receive a professional nursing license in the United States.
- Mahoney decided not to pursue a career in public nursing after completing her studies because of the widespread discrimination she encountered.
- Instead, she chose to work as a private nurse, where she could focus on the needs of individual customers. Her patients were largely from upper-middle-class white families from all over the east coast. Her competence, kindness, and loving bedside demeanor were well-known.
- Mahoney was an active member of the nursing community. She became a member of the Nurses Associated Alumnae of the United States and Canada (NAAUSC), subsequently known as the American Nurses Association, in 1896. (ANA).
- The NAAUSC was primarily made up of white nurses who were not always receptive to black nurses. Mahoney believed that a group advocating for African American nurses’ equality was needed. She helped form the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses in 1908. (NACGN). She made the opening statement at the NACGN’s inaugural national convention the following year. The organization’s members picked Mahoney to be the national chaplain and handed her a life membership at the convention.
- Mahoney became the director of the Howard Orphanage Asylum for black children in Kings Park, Long Island, New York City, after decades as a private nurse. From 1911 to 1912, she was the director of the company.
- After 40 years in the field of nursing, she was finally able to retire. She did, however, continue to advocate for women’s rights. Mahoney was one of the first women to register to vote in Boston after the 19th Amendment was enacted in August 1920.
- Mahoney lived to be 80 years old. She died on January 4, 1926, after a three-year battle with breast cancer. She was laid to rest at Everett, Massachusetts’ Woodlawn Cemetery.
Mary Eliza Mahoney – Recognititon
- Several medals and monuments have been given to Mahoney for his pioneering spirit. The Mary Mahoney Award was established in 1936 by the National Association for Colored Graduate Nurses to recognize her achievements.
- Nurses or groups of nurses that encourage integration in their sector are given this honor. The American Nurses Association still gives out this prize today. Mahoney was also inducted into the American Heart Association’s Hall of Fame in 1976.
- In 1993, Mahoney was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York, joining an elite group of women.
- Mahoney’s burial in Everett, Massachusetts, has been turned into a memorial. Helen S. Miller, the 1968 Mahoney Award winner, organized a fundraising campaign to erect a memorial to Mahoney at his tomb in 1973. Chi Eta Phi, a national sorority for professional and student nurses, and the American Nurses Association (ANA) backed her up. The memorial, which was finished in 1973, is a testament to Mahoney’s legacy.