Mary Mahoney was born in Boston, MA, and she became the first black registered nurse to be professionally trained in the United States in 1879. The program was so difficult that Mary was one of only three students to graduate out of a class of 40.
Mahoney went on to co-establish the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses in 1908. In recognition of her historic contributions to the nursing profession, the American Nurses Association instituted the Mary Mahoney Award in 1936. Mahoney was also inducted into both the Nursing Hall of Fame and the National Women’s Hall of Fame.