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Last month, the founder of the African American museum Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Sadie Roberts-Joseph, was founded dead in the trunk of her car. She was reportedly murdered by a registered sex offender who she rented property to. Robert-Joseph was 75 years old. Now it is being reported that Odell S. Williams African-American Museum has been vandalized.

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The Associated Press reports, “Photos posted online Monday show flipped benches, windows on the ground and other damage including torn and ruined landscaping. It’s unclear if the inside of the museum suffered any damage. It’s been closed since Roberts-Joseph’s death.” See below:

East Baton Rouge Coroner Dr. Beau Clark said the 75-year-old Roberts-Joseph died from “”traumatic asphyxia, including suffocation,” which the Advocate said meant that “a person’s airways were physically blocked, cutting off their oxygen supply. That could result from strangulation, but the coroner’s report doesn’t specify how exactly Roberts-Joseph was killed.”

According to the Bayou Brief, Roberts-Joseph had been baking a batch or cornbread at her sister’s nearby home on Friday afternoon. Her own oven wasn’t working, so she walked to her sister’s house. But at some point Roberts-Joseph left the home and was found dead hours later in the trunk of a car about three miles from Roberts-Joseph’s home.

Ronn Bell, 38, was charged with first-degree murder. He was about $1,200 behind in rent.

Roberts-Joseph was described as a staple in Baton Rouge. The late artist and activist was the founder of the city’s Odell S. Williams Now & Then Museum of African American History. She was also a crusader to bring back the relevance of Juneteenth, a movement she had been spearheading since 1991.

“My heart is empty … as I learned last night that Ms. Sadie Roberts Joseph was found murdered!” Marcelle wrote in part of her Facebook post when it went public that she was killed. “This woman was amazing and loved her history. She never bothered anyone. … I loved working with her and am saddened by her death.”


Roberts-Joseph’s death even touched the Baton Rouge Police Department. In a Facebook post they called her “a tireless advocate of peace in the community” who “will be missed by BRPD and her loss will be felt in the community she served.”

Our condolences go out to everyone affected by this tragedy.


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