Growing up near Johns Hopkins Hospital in East Baltimore, Esther McCready knew by the age of 8 that she wanted to be a nurse. However, she needed the help of the courts to gain acceptance to the University of Maryland School of Nursing. Aided by National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, she gained admittance in 1950, becoming the first Black student to attend the school. She graduated in 1953.
A display case in the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History dedicated a display case to items she donated. McCready died in 2020 at the age of 89.