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Was Beethoven Really A Black Man?

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The people of Twitter have a new theory practically everyday. This time, they think history might have whitewashed the famous composer, Beethoven! Could they be right? Was Beethoven really a Black man? Let’s look at the clues: 

Clue 1: His mother, Maria Magdelena Keverich, may have descended from the Spanish Moors, who were Black. Historical records show that Keverich was born in an area that had a large Moor population. His father Johann Vann, who was half Flemish, may have descended from Moor territory as well. 

Clue 2: Every personal account describes Beethoven as having a dark complexion, full lips, and a strong nose. There are dozens of witness accounts and descriptions of the great composer. Each of these descriptions note features that white society (problematically) associates with the Black community. There is also a pencil sketch of Beethoven that was regarded as one of his personal favorites. In the sketch, he has a dark complexion!

Clue 3: Beethoven’s mask, which was created shortly after his death, can help us decide what he looks like…What do you think?

So, those are the clues! Is Beethoven another victim to history’s tendency to  whitewash?

Check out Refinery 29 for more clues on if Beethoven was really Black!

Shiloah Williams is a writer based in Southern California. Her passions lie in writing about mental health and social justice, and crafting fiction stories of magical realism and mystery.