That achievement merely capped off a remarkable life. Born in 1845 to freed Blacks in Boston, Mahoney was the first Black person to study and work as a professionally trained nurse in the United States.
According to the National Women’s History Museum: “When she was in her teens, Mahoney knew that she wanted to become a nurse, so she began working at the New England Hospital for Women and Children. The hospital was dedicated to providing healthcare only to women and their children. It was also exceptional because it had an all-women staff of physicians. Here Mahoney worked for 15 years in a variety of roles. She acted as janitor, cook, and washer women. She also had the opportunity to work as a nurse’s aide, enabling her to learn a great deal about the nursing profession.”