Mary Eliza Mahoney
In 1879, at the age of 44, Mary Eliza Mahoney made history as the first African-American woman to become a professionally trained nurse in the USA. Prior to her qualification, African American women were not allowed to work as nurses and only a few worked in the army as volunteers mainly as nurse assistants despite the title they were given. After working as a maid and cook for close to 15 years, Mary was accepted into the New England Hospital for Women and Children despite not meeting the age criteria. Mary overcame racial barriers and worked for several white families as a personal nurse. In 1908, she co-founded the National Association for Colored Graduate Nurses to help build a community and support black nurses.