Mary Eliza Mahoney (1845-1926) was the
first African-American professional nurse in the United States. She graduated
from the nursing school of the New England Hospital for Women and Children in
1879, challenging discrimination on account of both gender and race.
After graduation, she
worked as a private nurse for mostly white families. In 1896 she became one of
the original members of the American Nurses Association. However, since it
discriminated against black nurses, she formed her own: the National
Association of Colored Graduate Nurses.