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H.Con.Res. 386 (109th): Honoring Mary Eliza Mahoney, America’s first professionally trained African-American nurse.

The text of the resolution below is as of Sep 19, 2006 (Passed the House).



2d Session

H. CON. RES. 386



Honoring Mary Eliza Mahoney, America’s first professionally trained African-American nurse.

Whereas Mary Eliza Mahoney was born May 7, 1845, in Dorchester, Massachusetts, to Charles Mahoney and Mary Jane Seward Mahoney;

Whereas Mary Eliza Mahoney, at the age of 33, was accepted as a student nurse at the hospital-based program of nursing at the New England Hospital for Women and Children;

Whereas Mary Eliza Mahoney was one of four students, of a class of 40, who completed nursing at the New England Hospital for Women and Children in 1879;

Whereas Mary Eliza Mahoney devoted her time and efforts unselfishly to the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses and was installed as the Official Chaplin;

Whereas Mary Eliza Mahoney’s motto was Work more and better the coming year than the previous year.;

Whereas Mary Eliza Mahoney delivered the first annual key note speech of the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses and established the Mary Eliza award, which today continues as the Mary Eliza Mahoney Award bestowed biennially by the American Nurses Association;

Whereas Mary Eliza Mahoney supported the suffrage movement and was the first African-American professionally trained nurse to receive retirement benefits from a fund left by a Boston physician to care for 60 nurses, who received twenty-five dollars every three months as long as they lived;

Whereas Mary Eliza Mahoney’s gravesite is in Woodlawn Cemetery, Everett, Massachusetts, and the headstone on her grave states, The First Professional Negro Nurse in the U.S.A.;

Whereas Mary Eliza Mahoney was inducted into the American Nurses Association Hall of Fame in 1976;

Whereas Mary Eliza Mahoney advanced the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice and confronting issues affecting professional nurses, such as the shortage of nurses;

Whereas today the shortage of nurses is a crisis, estimated to be 110,000 nurses, and is expected to increase to 2,800,000 by 2020 if this trend continues; and

Whereas nursing is a critical investment to the delivery of high-quality, cost-effective patient care, and the Nation should invest in and value nursing care: Now, therefore, be it

That the Congress—


honors Mary Eliza Mahoney, the first African-American nurse for an outstanding nursing career, dedication to the United States nursing profession, and exemplary contributions to local and national professional nursing organizations;


recognizes Mary Eliza Mahoney as the first professionally trained African-American nurse, and honors other African-American nurses who practice nursing with distinction;


honors and supports the goals and activities of National Nurses Week;


promotes further understanding and public awareness of the history of American nurses, who practiced nursing with compassion and devotion and transmitted new scientific knowledge using science-based nursing practice; and


advocates for women of color to enter nursing and supports strategies to counteract the shortage of nurses.

Passed the House of Representatives September 19, 2006.

Karen L. Haas