ANA Hall of Fame Inductee
America's first black professional nurse, Mary Eliza Mahoney is known not only for her outstanding personal career, but also for her exemplary contributions to local and national professional organizations. Mahoney inspired both nurses and patients with her calm, quiet efficiency and untiring compassion.
Patients tended by Mahoney throughout her career gave glowing testimony of her expert and tender care. She graduated from the New England Hospital for Women and Children Training School for Nurses in 1879. She was one of only three persons in her class to complete the rigorous 16 month program. In 1909, Mahoney gave the welcome address at the first conference of the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses (NACGN). In recognition of her outstanding example to nurses of all races, NACGN established the Mary Mahoney Award in 1936. When NACGN merged with the American Nurses Association in 1951, the award was continued. Today, the Mary Mahoney Award is bestowed biennially in recognition of significant contributions in interracial relationships.