In 1904, the St. Louis rag-timers were preparing for the St. Louis World's Fair — officially, the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. Due to flagrant racial discrimination and insults, black newspapers urged its readers not to attend. Nevertheless, blacks attended and participated. It was probably while Scott Joplin was still in Chicago, at the end of 1903 or beginning of 1904, that he arranged with Will Rossiter for the publication of The Sycamore. Also in 1904, Joplin went to Arkansas to visit relatives in Texarkana and Hot Springs. He visited Little Rock, where he met a young nineteen-year-old woman named Freddie Alexander, to whom he dedicated the opera The Chrysanthemum. The Chrysanthemum followed the direction initiated with Palm Leaf Rag, though it is less ornate. It is certainly one of Joplin's most graceful and lyrical rags. Unfortunately, they were married for only ten weeks until she passed away due to illness.
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