Articles

In the early 1880s, a young African American boy in Texarkana named Scott Joplin was trained in the fundamentals of classical music and opera by his German-born teacher. Born near Linden, Joplin was the son of a former slave—and a budding musical talent. By his early twenties, he left home to become an itinerant musician.

In the late 1890s, Joplin settled in Sedalia, Missouri, where he studied music, performed, and began writing songs such as the "Maple Leaf Rag" and "The Entertainer." Ragtime was described as the "one true American music" of the day, and Joplin was its king. More»

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Portrait of Scott Joplin, taken from American Musician, June 17, 1907. Library of Congress photo.