Scott Joplin, the King of Ragtime, was born on this day in 1868 in Texarkana, Texas. A skilled pianist and composer, Joplin started a 20-year ragtime craze with the release of his composition "Maple Leaf Rag" in 1897, during the Gay Nineties. Ragtime-scored piano music-at the time was considered Negro tavern and brothel music. Its tinny sound was the source of the name Tin Pan Alley, the center of ragtime in New York City. The lack of recognition of ragtime as a serious African-American musical art form plagued Joplin throughout his life. He died in an asylum in New York City on April 1, 1917, at the age of 49.