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The best of a Black tradition

Melvin B. Miller

If Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan broadcast a speech, media would be out in numbers to discredit every remark. But a program to recognize the composer Ludwig van Beethoven is ignored. But that is not an accident. The program on YouTube played a video recording of Farrakhan playing Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D, and he played it flawlessly.

But there might have been another reason for the program to be ignored. The interest in classical music by Blacks rebuts the assertion of white supremacy. European classical musicians emerged in the 18th and 19th centuries. In addition to Beethoven, Wolfgang Mozart, Joseph Haydn, Felix Mendelssohn and Johann Sebastian Bach emerged during this period.

Lesser known are Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, a Black composer from England, and George Bridgetower, an extraordinary Black violinist who first played Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata, which is considered to be too complex even for a talented violinist.

It was common in Boston, where Farrakhan grew up, for young Black children to study classical music. As a youngster, Farrakhan was considered to be a child prodigy. Blacks are clearly part of the wave of cultural development.

Beethoven, Louis Farrakhan

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