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Founder Of African American Museum Found Dead In Car Trunk

A 75-year-old Louisiana woman, Sadie Roberts-Joseph, who founded an African American history museum was discovered dead in the trunk of a car, police said on Saturday.

Baton Rouge police Sgt. L’Jean McKneely said investigators were still waiting for a coroner to determine a cause of death for Roberts-Joseph after her body was found Friday afternoon.

The Advocate reports that Roberts-Joseph was the founder and curator of the Baton Rouge African American Museum, which she started in 2001. The museum sits on the campus of New St. Luke Baptist Church, where Roberts-Joseph’s brother is pastor.

“Ms. Sadie was a tireless advocate of peace,” the Baton Rouge Police Department posted on its Facebook page, adding: “Our detectives are working diligently to bring the person or persons responsible for this heinous act to justice.”

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Roberts-Joseph also organized an annual Juneteenth festival at the museum, marking the date June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers delivered belated news to Texas that President Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring all Southern slaves free. The document had been finalized more than two years earlier.

“We have to be educated about our history and other people’s history,” Roberts-Joseph told the newspaper in 2016. “Across racial lines, the community can help to build a better Baton Rouge, a better state and a better nation.”

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