In spite of language, in spite of intelligence and intuition and sympathy, one can never really communicate anything to anybody. The essential substance of every thought and feeling remains incommunicable, locked up in the impenetrable strong-room of the individual soul and body. Our life is a sentence of perpetual solitary confinement.
By golly gee! I keep forgetting that Black people didn’t exist until the Fresh Prince of Bel Air came on television! Or that Black people existed in anywhere else than Africa even with slavery going on :) My apologies.
Anyway, here’s proof that Beethoven was Black:
"… Said directly, Beethoven was a black man. Specifically, his mother was a Moor, that group of Muslim Northern Africans who conquered parts of Europe—making Spain their capital—for some 800 years.
In order to make such a substantial statement, presentation of verifiable evidence is compulsory. Let’s start with what some of Beethoven’s contemporaries and biographers say about his brown complexion:
(Louis Letronne, Beethoven, 1814, pencil drawing.)
"Frederick Hertz, German anthropologist, used these terms to describe him: ‘Negroid traits, dark skin, flat, thick nose.’
Emil Ludwig, in his book ‘Beethoven,’ says: ‘His face reveals no trace of the German. He was so dark that people dubbed him Spagnol [dark-skinned].’
Fanny Giannatasio del Rio, in her book ‘An Unrequited Love: An Episode in the Life of Beethoven,’ wrote ‘His somewhat flat broad nose and rather wide mouth, his small piercing eyes and swarthy [dark] complexion, pockmarked into the bargain, gave him a strong resemblance to a mulatto.’
C. Czerny stated, ‘His beard—he had not shaved for several days—made the lower part of his already brown face still darker.’
Following are one word descriptions of Beethoven from various writers: Grillparzer, ‘dark’; Bettina von Armin, ‘brown’; Schindler, ‘red and brown’; Rellstab, ‘brownish’; Gelinek, ‘short, dark.’
In Alexander Thayer’s Life of Beethoven, vol.1, p. 134, the author states, “there is none of that obscurity which exalts one to write history as he would have it and not as it really was. The facts are too patent.” On this same page, he states that the German composer Franz Josef Haydn was referred to as a “Moor” by Prince Esterhazy, and Beethoven had “even more of the Moor in his looks.’ On p. 72, a Beethoven contemporary, Gottfried Fischer, describes him as round-nosed and of dark complexion. Also, he was called ‘der Spagnol’ (the Spaniard).
Other “patent” sources, of which there are many, include, but are not limited to, Beethoven by Maynard Solomon, p.78. He is described as having “thick, bristly coal-black hair” (in today’s parlance, we proudly call it ‘kinky’) and a ‘ruddy-complexioned face.’ In Beethoven: His Life and Times by Artes Orga, p.72, Beethoven’s pupil, Carl Czerny of the ‘School of Velocity’ fame, recalls that Beethoven’s ‘coal-black hair, cut a la Titus, stood up around his head [sounds almost like an Afro]. His black beard…darkened the lower part of his dark-complexioned face.’
Engraving by Blasius Hofel, Beethoven, 1814, color facsimile of engraving after a pencil drawing by Louis Letronne. This engraving was regarded in Beethoven’s circle as particularly lifelike. Beethoven himself thought highly of it, and gave several copies to his friends.
Beethoven, the Black Spaniard(read more here)
They whitewashed BEETHOVEN? O_O
Thank you, history/fact-checking Tumblr.
I now feel the need to go burn every white-skinned image of Beethoven I can find.
beethoven was totally black! how do people not know this?
jk because erasure
I have been playing Beethoven’s music for 10+ years now and had absolutely no idea he was black.
My life has been a lie.
OH MY GOD HOLY SHIT.
I HAVE A BACHELOR DEGREE IN MUSIC, MY MAJOR WAS “MUSIC HISTORY, THEORY, AND LITERATURE”
I TOOK MULTIPLE CLASSES SPECIFICALLY IN BEETHOVEN’S STRING QUARTETS AND MY SCHOOL HAD AN INTERNATIONAL BEETHOVEN SYMPOSIUM WHERE THERE WERE PAPERS ON THINGS LIKE THE KIND OF FUCKING PAAAAAAPER HE DID HIS MANUSCRIPTS ON, IN DIFFERENT CITIES, TO SEE WHERE AND WHEN HE WROTE SPECIFIC SNIPPETS OF MUSIC.
NEVER IN MY EDUCATION OR READINGS DID I EITHER
A) NOTICE THIS
B) WAS SPECIFICALLY TOLD THIS.
I think there’s a combination of systemic racism in this, and my own internalized racism. I have, in fact, read Maynard Solomon’s biography and didn’t pick up on this. I have read the Czerny sources as well. My Beethoven teacher (Bill Kinderman) is one of the top Beethoven scholars in the world, and I don’t remember hearing any of this from him.
I even did a semester of graduate work in musicology, specifically focusing on the Beethoven string quartets (I really fucking love those things) and we never spoke about this.
I cannot say I am in any way surprised at this. I am embarrassed, angry, and upset that this was erased from my DECADES of music education.
Which doesn’t surprise me at all, because classical music is very specifically in our culture for white people, especially men, especially upper class white men.
Oof, this one is going to take a while to fully fucking digest, I am in angry tears.
Holy shit. One of the greatest musical minds of all time and he got whitewashed.
The truth needs to be spread.
Johnny Carson voice: “I did not know that.”
This isn’t the first time that I’ve read on tumblr that Beethoven was black, but I feel compelled to reblog it now because casually scrolling past evidence of erasure and noting it is not enough. I’d love to see a documentary about this.
My uncle wrote and acted in a play about Beethoven, now I understand why it’s called ‘The Black Spaniard’
People are happy with a replica. They like watching a movie on an iPhone rather than watching it in a real theatre. They’re okay with that. They’re okay with going to Vegas and seeing a recreation of the Eiffel Tower than actually seeing the real Eiffel Tower. I think that there was a time when that was like ‘No, you didn’t go to Paris, you went to a theme park!’ It’s just interesting how we’re okay with that now. That’s good enough. I don’t think that’s good enough. If a new Andy Warhol came out right now, I think what he would become is a quick Instagram photo shot or a quick Vine thing or something on the internet on Tumblr or something. Those are the artists that I feel sorry for right now are the sculptors and the painters because they become a quick email or instant message or something. ‘Hey check out this cool painting!’ ‘Oh, wow. That’s cool.’ Then they go on to the next thing. That guy worked for six months on that. He really broke new ground and it just becomes a quick thing on your phone to just scroll through and that’s just not really respectful to that.