African-American museum reopens ahead of Juneteenth celebrations

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BATON ROUGE, La. (LOCAL 33/FOX 44) – The Odell S. Williams African-American Museum is open again.

“It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions,” said Jason Roberts as he described how it’s been since his mother’s murder.

Activist Sadie Roberts-Joseph was found dead last July in the trunk of her car. She founded the Odell S. Williams African-American Museum. Her children reopened it just days before Juneteenth.

Roberts said, “This museum was her life’s work and as her son and my sister as her daughter, of course, we’re honored to be able to continue to serve in the same capacity my mother did.”

Roberts-Joseph helped the community celebrate Juneteenth. It’s a celebration of when slaves in Texas found out they were freed, nearly three years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

There are many celebrations leading up to Juneteenth. Now that day, the third Saturday of each June has been recognized here in Louisiana since 2003, but there are some people that say it should be taught in schools.

“It should be something every child has an awareness of,” said Bea Gyimah with America, My Oyster Association. “If a child is taught early on about the injustices that were done in America, they will better understand why people are protesting the injustices that are being carried out in this day and time.”

It’s a message Sadie Roberts-Joseph wanted all of us to learn. That message is carrying on through the museum.

“It’s given us an appreciation of all the hard work that she did to keep this museum going,” said Roberts.

The museum is open every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from noon to four. You can also make an appointment if you can’t make it during those times. Call 225-343-4431.

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