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ANA Racial Reckoning: Inaugural Lecture Series Honors Trailblazer Nurse Mary Eliza Mahoney

Keziah Proctor,

SILVER SPRING, MD  –  The American Nurses Association (ANA) is launching the inaugural Mary Eliza Mahoney Lecture Series, sponsored by its Racial Reckoning program, in honor of the first professionally licensed African American nurse and pioneer within the nursing community. This special lecture titled, “Service for Humanity: The Life of Mary Eliza Mahoney” takes place on May 8th and will focus on her significant influence on Black nurses, all nurses of color and on the nursing profession at large. The President of the Central Virginia Chapter of the National Black Nurses Association, Vivienne Pierce McDaniel, DNP, MSN, RN, will be presenting with opening remarks by ANA President Jennifer Mensik Kennedy, PhD, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN.

“It is a tremendous honor to be at the helm of this important work. As I reflect on the legacy of this trailblazing nurse, I am in awe for what she accomplished in both her personal and professional life in the face of tremendous adversity and racism. Mary Eliza Mahoney was an impactful leader, innovator and visionary for both nursing practice and civil rights. She embodied the core values of nursing practice before they were even articulated on paper. She was a light in her generation who proclaimed and fought for diversity and health equity. During this Nurses Month, we honor Ms. Mahoney and her legacy. She will never be forgotten, her contributions will endure,” said ANA President Jennifer Mensik Kennedy.

This lecture series will continue as an annual event, to be held on or near Ms. Mahoney’s birth date (May 7) in May, over the next three years and will examine Ms. Mahoney’s impact on contemporary nursing practice. In addition to being part of ANA’s Journey of Racial Reconciliation, this series is one of the ways ANA will be commemorating nurses during Nurses Month. This month-long recognition of nurses promotes understanding and appreciation of the nursing profession and recognizes the vast contributions of nurses – past and present.

ANA’s Journey of Racial Reconciliation is a multi-year initiative aiming to address its own history of systemic racism both organizationally and within the nursing profession. ANA’s official Racial Reckoning Statement serves as a formal public apology to nurses of color. Sign-up to watch the first part of the Mary Eliza Mahoney Lecture Series here.


About the American Nurses Association
The American Nurses Association (ANA) is the premier organization representing the interests of the nation's more than 4 million registered nurses. ANA advances the profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting a safe and ethical work environment, bolstering the health and wellness of nurses, and advocating on health care issues that affect nurses and the public. ANA is at the forefront of improving the quality of health care for all. For more information, visit


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