Black History Month – Remembering Mary Mahoney

Mary Mahoney – Trailblazing Nurse

February is Black History Month, a yearly celebration of Black Americans’ achievements and the role those achievements have played in our country’s history.  Every American president in office since 1976 has officially designated February as Black History Month. 

Because we have gained even more of an appreciation for healthcare workers during the pandemic, this month, we remember Mary Mahoney, who, in 1879, became the first Black woman to complete nursing school in the United States.

How Black History Month Began

Carter Woodson was a Harvard trained historian.  Jesse Moorland was a minister.  Together, in September 1915, they started the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH). The organization would later become the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH).  The purpose of the organization was to research and promote achievements by Black Americans.  In 1926, the organization promoted a nationwide Negro History week.  Early February was chosen for the commemoration due to the fact that the birth dates of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln also fell during that time period.  The week-long event inspired communities and schools across the nation to host local celebrations.

The celebrations grew over the decades that followed, and by the late 60s, coinciding with the civil rights movement, many college campuses nationwide had adopted February as Black History Month.  It was recognized in an official capacity by President Gerald Ford in 1976. 

Watch the YouTube video below, which documents the achievements of Mary Eliza Mahoney.

A Healthcare Pioneer

The past year has put a spotlight on how special our healthcare workers are.  It seems appropriate to remember a healthcare worker during Black History Month.  In 1879, Mary Mahoney became the first Black woman in the United States to complete nursing school. She attended the New England Hospital for Women and Children.  Additionally, she was one of the first Black members of the American Nurses Association.  She has been inducted into the Nursing Hall of Fame as well as the National Women’s Hall of Fame. 

Her Beginnings

Mary Eliza Mahoney was born in Boston, Massachusetts in the spring of 1845 (conflicting sources say in either April or May).  She was raised in the Dorchester neighborhood. In adulthood, she worked as a private nurse at the New England Hospital for Women and Children in Boston for several years.  She was admitted to the nursing program at that same hospital in 1878 and made history the following year by becoming the first Black woman to complete the program.

Mary Mahoney – Voting Pioneer

On August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution took effect.  It granted women their long-overdue voting rights.  Swiftly exercising this hard-earned right, Mary Mahoney became one of the first women in Boston to register to vote.

Post-Nursing Life

Mary Mahoney left the Boston hospital and moved to Long Island, New York, in the 1900s to supervise the Howard Orphan Asylum for Black Children.  

Stockton Personal Injury Attorney 

Hello, and thank you for reading our remembrance of trailblazing nurse Mary Mahoney.  I’m Ed Smith, a personal injury lawyer in Stockton, California.  Because we represent injured Northern Californians, we have always had a great appreciation and respect for healthcare workers at  Highway 99 and the other freeways and roadways in the Stockton area see a large number of automobile accidents each day.  Unfortunately, many of those crashes result in traumatic injuries.  If you have been injured in an auto accident caused by a negligent or careless driver, our injury lawyers are ready to offer compassionate, free, and friendly advice.  Depending on the facts surrounding the incident, we may then set up a no-obligation consultation to more thoroughly review your potential case.  Ultimately, we want to make sure that you are on the road to recovery and that you are compensated fairly for your damages.  Our phone number is (209) 227-1931.  If you will be calling from outside the local area code, use our toll-free line: (800) 404-5400.

When seeking legal counsel, it is always helpful to see prior case results and know what former clients have to say about a firm’s services.  That information for our law office can be found via the sites linked below:

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