BATON ROUGE, La. (LOCAL 33) (FOX 44) — Hundreds packed inside a Baton Rouge church Monday to celebrate the life of an activist killed roughly a week ago.
Speakers inside the Living Faith Christian Center eulogized Sadie Roberts-Joseph, who founded the Odell S. Williams Now & Then African-American Museum and led Baton Rouge’s annual salute to slave emancipation.
“Sadie Roberts-Joseph was a beacon of light to our community,” Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome said. “If you knew Sadie, you know she was a woman on a mission.”
“Her desire to teach all of us the value of loving one another, as we are commanded to do — it’s not a suggestion, it’s a commandment — is something that cannot be overstated,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said.
Relatives recalled Roberts-Joseph, 75, as an off-beat matriarch. Her nephew, Rev. Dr. Shalamar Armstrong, joked that in church and at family events, she would often clap out of rhythm — and embrace it.
“That’s because the community has enough needs where everybody who claps in rhythm and those who are off-beat can join together to get things done,” Armstrong said.
Roberts-Joseph was found suffocated in the truck of her car on Friday, July 12. Police last week arrested one of her tenants, whom reports indicate owed the activist and museum founder about $1,200 in rent.
“I can’t tell you why,” circuit court Judge John Michael Guidry said in his remarks. “But I can tell you who. I can tell you who will be a mother and grandmother, a sister and an aunt. I know who will wipe the tears from your eyes.”
Both Edwards and Broome issued proclamations Monday on Roberts-Joseph’s honor.