Was Beethoven Black?

The 50/50 round last night was Beethoven or Mozart, and one of the questions was “Which one was rumored to be black?” The answer is Beethoven. This from africawithin.com: Frau Fisher, a close friend of Beethoven, described him with “blackish-brown complexion.” 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.”

So was he black? The Straight Dope says that the evidence is extremely thin.

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