Lessons in Black History – Mary Eliza Mahoney

marymahoneyMary Eliza Mahoney – In 1873, Mary Mahoney of Dorchester, Massachusetts, graduated nursing school, making her the first professionally trained black woman to become a nurse. Mahoney was not the first black woman to provide health care. Jamaican-born Mary Seacole was a nurse, known for her service in the Crimean War (1853-1856), and during her time was regarded alongside legendary nurse Florence Nightingale. And while black women like Seacole practiced medicine in various different capacities for centuries, Mahoney was the first to become a licensed nurse. She was also a supporter of the women’s suffrage movement, and one of the first women in Boston registered to vote. Mabel Keaton Staupers became a nurse in 1917. Three years later, she helped found the first hospital in New York. Staupers was an advocate for desegregation, leading the charge for the integration of black nurses in the both the armed forces and the private sector.

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