Scott Joplin was born into a newly freed slave family in either Texarkana or Linden, Texas, in either 1867 or 1868.
Not much is known about his early life, historians only know he had a decent piano, which is possibly the only decent thing had, as he was mostly impoverished.
He was an extremely talented musical student, taught under Julia Weiss. Later he left his home to become a traveling musician. Playing in bars and saloons, he was very popular.
By 1894 he had become tired of his roamer life and finally settled down in Sedalia, Missouri. He performed at all the major musical clubs and bars in Sedalia, and he composed some of his first pieces in 1895.
The genre Ragtime was very popular in his day, up until his death in 1917. He composed his first rag in 1897. Many more soon followed, with some of the most popular being "Maple Leaf Rag" (1899) and "The Entertainer (1902).
Despite his cheerful compositions, he was, in sooth, a rather lonely and quiet man by the time he died of syphilis, bordering on insanity.
His legacy lives on today as one of the finest ragtime composers of history.