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By Paul Krupin:
When music publisher John Stark first heard Scott Joplin play his piano, he knew that ragtime was the music of hope for a new America.
But Joplin would never be content with popularity and fame. Joplin committed himself to racial justice in the early 1900’s. He was inspired by Booker T. Washington and the Dahomeyan defeat in West Africa. But due to this earnest pursuit, he was ignored by the masses for writing the music of Civil Rights fifty years before America was ready to listen.