A timely novel on how the young musician overcame prejudice to become an international phenomenon as the entire world celebrates the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven’s birth:
The year was 1770, the place, Bonn, Germany. A drunken father took his first look at his baby’s dark complexion and lost his temper. The mother insisted the child was his. This was the beginning of a youth filled with anxiety, prejudice, and uncertainty for young Luis. We know him as Beethoven.
Descriptions by neighbors and friends often begin, “He was black,” meaning darker than others, and therefore subject to discrimination in the German north. Was Beethoven black in contemporary terms? There is little doubt that the child, perhaps with Moorish roots, who grew up under the thumb of a domineering, alcoholic father, did not look like other members of his family, nor even his community. We may never know why.