The Entertainer was written by Scott Joplin and was used as the theme music for the film The Sting.
Ragtime originated in African American musical communities, in the late 19th century, and descended from the jigs and marches played by bands in Northern cities with black populations. By the start of the 20th century it became widely popular throughout North America and was listened and danced to, performed, and written by people of many different cultures. A distinctly American musical style, ragtime may be considered a blend of African rhythms and European classical music.
There is no question as to Joplin’s greatness, his talent, his importance in the history of ragtime and American music. Yet, for all his prominence and recognition, many of the facts regarding his life still elude us.
It is uncertain where or when he was born. The best we can say is that he was born in Texas, probably in the northeast part of the state, for the U.S. Census locates him there in July 1870 as a two-year-old child. That he was already two at that time (and was twelve when the next Census was taken, in June 1880) indicates that the frequently-cited and celebrated birth date of November 24, 1868 is incorrect.
So then, when was he born? Available documents point to a birth between June 1867 and mid-January 1868.
When he was still a young child, his family left the farm on which his father (formerly a slave) worked as a labourer. They moved to the newly established town of Texarkana, which straddles the Texas-Arkansas border. The Joplins lived on both sides of the border.
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