Ragtime was the genre that finally catapulted African American music into mainstream culture in the United States. It peaked from 1896-1920. The popularized, upbeat, sheet music allowed the talent that black people created to finally be showcased.
Ragtime was made readily accessible to the population as it was a style that was often played by regular people in their houses; ragtime was a music that was genuinely for the people. It was a style that brought people together as the pianist simply sat and played the easier part on their left hand and the syncopation on their right hand.
Once white people got ahold of the concept of ragtime music, they used it as a medium of oppressing and subjecting black people to racism through cakewalks, blackface, and minstrel shows.