October 31, 2020
Mary Ellen Vaughn was one tough lady.
Born February 24, 1893 near Montgomery, Alabama, Mary Ellen Vaughn moved to Murfreesboro as a young lady to become a force in the local early civil rights movement.
From The Murfreesboro Post: “Mary Ellen Vaughn was an entrepreneur and skilled nurse who used her talents to promote the interests of Murfreesboro’s African American community in the first half of the 20th century.
Vaughn’s extensive education included Tuskegee Institute, Chicago Business College and Tennessee A&I State College.
She established the African American newspaper Murfreesboro Union in 1920 and Vaughn’s Training School in 1933.
During the 1920s, she worked as a nurse in the Commonwealth Fund’s nationally significant effort to improve rural public health in Rutherford County.
Her school provided home health-care instruction and adult education, and served as a clearinghouse for civil rights information and activism.
Murfreesboro’s Vaughn Street continues to honor her memory.