Sadie Roberts-Joseph’s sister Armstrong-Johnson told the Washington Post “She was a total advocate of peace, love and harmony, and she died just the opposite,”
UPDATE: A man has been arrested on suspicion of the murder – https://news.yahoo.com/man-arrested-murder-louisiana-african-american-museum-founder-194558285–abc-news-topstories.html
Sadie Roberts-Joseph launched a local group to fight drugs and violence, she founded an African American history museum because, she believed “If you don’t know where you came from, it’s hard to know where you’re going.”
Sadie Roberts-Joseph has been found murdered. Yet another Black activist dead. Her body was found in a car trunk on Friday, only three miles from her home in Baton Rouge. Her death has been ruled homicide by Police, the autopsy revealed she died of traumatic asphyxiation, including by suffocation.
I cannot imagine how her family and friends feel right now. She did so much good for her community, her core values aligned with our mission and why we created our Black History Flashcards and the Sankofa Club Kids Activity Sheets.
The fact is so many Black activists die in similar circumstances. Sadie’s death is shocking but not that surprising given the violence women of color undergo.
The worry now is justice. Our job as a community is now two-pronged.
Number one, we must honor this beautiful soul and not let her legacy be forgotten.
Number two, we must make sure the pressure is on to find the killer, to bring justice to her family and make sure if it is related to her work that it is exposed.
Activists have a right to work without fear but that is not an easy thing to do in reality.
The Washington Post (https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/07/14/activist-who-spotlighted-african-american-history-found-dead-trunk-car-police-say/) reported:
“It is exciting to see Juneteenth grow in popularity and support as America’s 2nd Independence Day celebration,” Roberts-Joseph said in 2002, when she was director of the Louisiana Juneteenth Holiday Campaign.
The museum, which features a brightly colored bus and paintings on its blue fence, sits next to the Baptist church where Roberts-Joseph’s brother serves as pastor. The museum is closed Sunday — but if someone at the services wanted to pop in, Roberts-Joseph opened the space up, Armstrong-Johnson said. She was there seven days a week.
The museum door was boarded up in preparation for Hurricane Barry, and mourners left flowers outside, with a sign reading “Going to miss u.”
Roberts-Joseph started the museum with the collection of a former teacher in the East Baton Rouge Parish, later adding exhibits on African art, inventions of African Americans and more, according to the Advocate, a local paper.
“We have to be educated about our history and other people’s history,” Roberts-Joseph told the Advocate in 2016. “Across racial lines, the community can help to build a better Baton Rouge, a better state and a better nation.”
Then there were the community centers at which Roberts-Joseph worked, spearheading food banks and clothing drives, her sister recalled. There was CADAV, where she served for years as president before passing the job to a younger relative.
Roberts-Joseph may have met celebrities through her work but stayed humble, Armstrong-Joseph said, and always tried to marshal aid for those less fortunate.
“She sought resources that were greater than hers to help those that were in need,” Armstrong-Joseph said. “She never met a stranger. I don’t care who you were, you were the same in her eyesight.”
Armstrong-Johnson last saw her sister when she came over about 10:30 a.m. Friday to bake bread. Her oven was broken, Armstrong-Johnson said.
Roberts-Joseph left for appointments, Armstrong-Johnson said, and never came back.
PUBLIC NOTE: The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the view of the Urban Intellectuals, affiliates or partners.