Vaughan's father, Asbury "Jake" Vaughan, was a carpenter by trade and played guitar and piano. Her mother, Ada Vaughan, was a laundress who sang in the church choir. The Vaughans lived in a house on Brunswick Street in Newark for Vaughan's entire childhood. Jake was deeply religious. The family was active in New Mount Zion Baptist Church at 186 Thomas Street. Vaughan began piano lessons at the age of seven, sang in the church choir, and played piano for rehearsals and services.
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