Mary Ellen Doona, Historian of the Massachusetts Nurses Association and one of Mahoney's biographers was also in attendance. Mary Eliza Mahoney She Saw Her Calling as Nursing by Victoria McAfee Mary Eliza Mahoney was the first black professional nurse in America. Two years later Chi Eta Phi published Helen Sullivan Miller's biography of Mahoney: Mary Eliza Mahoney 1845-1926- America's First Black Professional Nurse. Explore Mary Eliza Mahoney's biography, personal life, family and cause of death. Her parents, freed slaves, relocated from North Carolina prior to the Civil War. Dimock's center, The Mary Eliza Mahoney House Emergency Family Shelter (MEMH), is a closed referral program serving Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) homeless families. Mary Eliza Mahoney was born in the Dorchester area of Boston, Massachusetts, the United States on May 7, 1845. Her parents were free slaves who had moved to Boston from North Carolina before the American Civil War to save themselves from racial discrimination. Discover the real story, facts, and details of Mary Eliza Mahoney. She was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, around May 7, 1845, the oldest of three children. Childhood, Family and Educational Life. Mahoney was one of the first African Americans to graduate from a nursing school, prospering in a predominantly white society. Mary Eliza Mahoney (May 7, 1845 – January 4, 1926) was the first African American to study and work as a professionally trained nurse in the United States, graduating in 1879.