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Jubilee Singers

The Jubilee Singers. Frederick J. Loudin, standing, fourth from left. From Marsh, The Story of the Jubilee Singers, 1892.

Loudin's father had accumulated some property, and had given generously, according to his means, for the endowment of a college a few miles from his home. But when he asked that one of his children might be admitted to the advantages of its preparatory department he was coolly informed that they did not receive colored students. His farm was taxed for the support of the public schools, but it was an exceptional favour of those days that his children were allowed to share their privileges. In Ravenna, where Loudin went to school for a time, the seats in the school-room were assigned according to scholarship. He was studious and quick to learn, but when he was found entitled by the rules to a higher seat than several members of his class, their parents took their children out of school, in a white heat of wrath that he should not only have a seat beside but above them! Subsequently he had the honor of being a pupil of Mr. President Garfield.

Converted when a lad, he was admitted to membership in the Methodist church at the same place. He was then a printer's apprentice. His wages were $45 a year, and he gave $5 of this to the church. Having a reputation among his acquaintances as a good singer, he applied, two or three years after he became a church member, for admission to the choir. To his surprise and indignation his application was refused, because of his color. He made up his mind that he was not likely to get or do much more good in that church, and he never troubled it with his presence afterward.


This brief biography of Frederick J. Loudin was transcribed by Jeff Farmer from J. B. T. Marsh, The Story of the Jubilee Singers, 1892.