Activist Who Spotlighted Black History Found Dead In Trunk Of Car: Police
Baton Rouge, Louisiana:
Sadie Roberts-Joseph’s sister recollects her as a girl who made matters higher – who led community trash cleanups and residence upkeep, who released a local group to combat drugs and violence, who based a black history museum due to the fact, as Roberts-Joseph appreciated to tell each person, “If you do not know wherein you got here from, it’s tough to know in which you are going.”
That legacy becomes on Beatrice Armstrong-Johnson’s mind Sunday as she notion about how her 75-year-old sister died. Police observed the community chief and activist’s frame – an outstanding voice inside the push to make Juneteenth a state and countrywide holiday honoring America’s slaves’ liberating – in a car trunk Friday, approximately 3 miles from her domestic in Baton Rouge.
“She changed into a complete recommend of peace, love, and harmony, and he or she died just the other,” Armstrong-Johnson, 68, advised The Washington Post on Sunday.
Police are investigating and do not know the purpose of the dying, the Baton Rouge Police Department stated in an announcement Saturday.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office will release a preliminary reason for dying Monday, leader of investigations Shane Evans informed The Post.
News of Roberts-Joseph’s demise has added an outpouring of grief and disbelief from pals, circle of relatives, and nearby officials acquainted together with her passionate advocacy for the maintenance of black history.
Sunday rain pelted Kaufman Street, where the sisters lived doors down from each other.
A tree turned into knocked down at the aspect of the lifeless-cease street, and sandbags lined doors braced for flooding. Plants crowded Roberts-Joseph’s front yard, and a plaque listing the Ten Commandments was set on a green porch wall.
One door over, Debbie Magee grieved for her neighbor of thirteen years.
“She changed into the epitome of suitable. She stood for something,” said Magee, 39, as her 4-12 months old son, Lorenzo, played at her feet. “She wanted to ensure we weren’t judged at the ZIP code we are in.”
Roberts-Joseph warded off suspicious humans on the street and constantly had a chunk of fruit or a toy for kids inside the Scotlandville network, Magee said. And she stood through a simple local faculty so frequently – handing out paper and pencils to children – that you can mistake her for a crossing shield, Magee stated.
“She did now not deserve for a person to take her existence after which area her in a trunk and depart her there. That’s not proper,” Magee stated as tears stuffed her eyes. “She will, without a doubt, be missed.”
Roberts-Joseph’s paintings delivered her into contact with leaders, including President Barack Obama and civil rights activist Jesse Jackson, her sister stated.
“My heart is empty,” Louisiana Rep. Denise Marcelle, a Democrat, wrote on Facebook after gaining knowledge of what had occurred. The Baton Rouge department of the NAACP mourned the loss of a “Cultural Legend” – a “trendsetter and icon” inside the city where Roberts-Joseph revived Juneteenth celebrations and set up her museum, the group stated.
Baton Rouge police said in an announcement that Roberts-Joseph was a “tireless endorse” who worked with the department on things, which include a bicycle giveaway at her museum and the community organization she founded, Community Against Drugs and Violence (CADAV).
Another major part of Roberts-Joseph’s legacy: her determination to the Odell S. Williams Now and Then African-American History Museum, which she based in 2001 and ran with volunteer help and donations. The Baton Rouge museum spotlighted black records and hosted gatherings for holidays along with Memorial Day, Kwanzaa, and Juneteenth.
“It is exciting to look Juneteenth grow in reputation and help as America’s 2nd Independence Day party,” Roberts-Joseph stated in 2002, while she changed into a 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 on the services desired to pop in, Roberts-Joseph opened the distance up, Armstrong-Johnson stated. She was there seven days every week.
The museum door turned into boarded up in education for Tropical Storm Barry, and mourners left plants outside, with a sign analyzing “Going to miss u.”
Roberts-Joseph began the museum by collecting a former instructor within the East Baton Rouge Parish, later adding exhibits on African art, innovations of black Americans, and greater, in keeping with The Advocate, a local paper.
“We ought to be educated approximately our records and other people’s records,” Roberts-Joseph advised the paper in 2016. “Across racial strains, the network can assist in building a higher Baton Rouge, a better nation, and a higher nation.”
Then there have been the network facilities at which Roberts-Joseph labored, spearheading meal banks and apparel drives, her sister recalled. There was CADAV, in which she served for years as president earlier than passing the job to a younger relative.
Roberts-Joseph can also have met celebrities via her paintings but stayed humble, Armstrong-Joseph said, and always attempted to marshal resources for those less fortunate.
“She sought sources that have been greater than hers to help those that were in need,” Armstrong-Joseph said. “She is no way met a stranger. I do not care who you had been; you were equal in her eyesight.”
Armstrong-Johnson remaining saw her sister when she came over at approximately 10:30 a.M. Friday to bake bread. Her oven was damaged, Armstrong-Johnson stated.