Special Honorary Achievement
Frederick Loudin, second child of Jeremiah and Sybil Loudin of Charlestown Township, became one of the greatest singers in Post Civil War America. Frederick started school in Charlestown and later transferred to Ravenna. After graduation, he became a printer’s apprentice making $45.00 a year. Black men who yearned for something more than farming were usually limited to such roles as waiter, hostler, or at best owner of a barber shop. Loudin’s training in the print shop did not help because white printers would not tolerate the presence of a Black compositor. Between 1850 and 1870 Loudin traveled to Pennsylvania and married Harriet Johnson. He became a member of the Fisk Jubilee Singers which reorganized as the Loudin Jubilee singers. During a worldwide tour lasting six years, Loudin and his jubilee Singers appeared in seventeen countries and entertained many prestigious heads of state. Those who remember the famous singer’s return to Ravenna, remember a fine gentlemen, respected, appreciated; a hero who came home. It was in Ravenna that he chose to build “Otira” his dream home at the corner of Walnut and Riddle, as well as, owning and operating a successful shoe factory. Loudin should not be forgotten for he was a man with a dream when Black people had no reason to dream – a dream he lived through music before the crowned heads of Europe, before Presidents of the United States, in concert halls in every civilized country in the world and in Ravenna, his hometown. He dared to dream when dreams for Blacks were nightmares. Frederick Loudin not only dreamed, he overcame.