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What We Know About The Death Of Baton Rouge African Museum Founder Sadie Roberts-Joseph

By Parker Diakite

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Sadie Roberts-Joseph was described as a “generous” activist who devoted her time towards helping the community. The 75-year-old was also the founder of the African American Museum in Baton Rouge, Lousiana.

She was found dead in the trunk of a car three miles from her home on Friday, July 12, as reported in NPR.

“She was one of the last black oral street historians of Baton Rouge and dedicated her life to telling the story of freedom fighters in my hometown with the most beautiful art,” wrote one Twitter user. “Rest in Power, Miss Sadie. You didn’t deserve this.”

A preliminary autopsy conducted by the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office showed Roberts-Joseph, died of traumatic asphyxia as reported by NBC.

Her former tenant, Ronn Jermaine Bell, 38, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in connection with her death.

Local law enforcement said they have not determined a motive yet in the case, but Bell was reportedly two months behind on his rent.


Here’s What You Should Know About Roberts-Joseph

1. Sadie Roberts-Joseph founded the Odell S. Williams Now and Then African American Museum

She told The Advocate learning about the history of slavery helps communities “heal from the legacy of slavery and move forward.”

2. She also revived the city’s annual Juneteenth celebrations in 1991

“From reviving Juneteenth, to the Culture preserved at Her Museum, she was a trendsetter and icon in this city,” the local branch of the NAACP stated on Facebook.

3. She worked with Baton Rouge police to end violence in the community

Roberts-Joseph also co-founded Community Against Drugs and Violence (CADAV), a non-profit organization aimed at ending violence in Baton Rouge, as reported in Heavy.

“Ms. Sadie was a tireless advocate of peace in the community. We had opportunities to work with her on so many levels,” the police department wrote on Facebook.


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