Mary Eliza Mahoney

Welcome to our first Black from the Past™ highlight of the season where we’re shining a light on Mary Eliza Mahoney, the first Black woman to study and work as a professionally trained nurse in the United States.
Quick Facts: 
  •  Born in Boston, MA to freed slaves
  •  Worked as a nurse in the early 19th & 20th centuries
  • Started working at the New England hospital for women & children as a teenager. She spent 15 years working there as a cook, a laundress, janitor and nurses aid.
  •  Attended the nursing at New England hospital and was on the 4 students (out of 42) who finished in 1879
  • One of the first women to who registered to vote after the passage of the 19th.
  • Mary Eliza Mahoney died at the age of 80 in 1926.
Were you aware of Mary Eliza Mahoney’s journey? Who’s the next Black influential woman that should be featured in our Black from the Past™ series?

Black from the Past™ is a segment of the Shades of Strong podcast where where we’re preserving and normalizing Black history by shining a light of Black women who have made significant contributions to the Black female culture, but are often forgotten.


[Source: Spring, Kelly. “Mary Mahoney.” National Women’s History Museum. National Women’s History Museum, 2017]

Do you have a family member or know of someone you would like to see us shine a light on?  Send us an email at hi@shadesofstrong.com with the subject line Black from the Past suggestion and we’ll do our best to make it happen.



Phyllis Hyman
Margaret Garner