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Black Activist Found 'Murdered' in Car Trunk

Sadie Roberts-Smith 'was amazing and loved her history'
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 14, 2019 12:15 PM CDT
Stock image.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Louisiana police made a shocking find Friday: A black activist who helped establish an African American museum lay dead in a car trunk, ABC News reports. Sadie Roberts-Smith, 75, was discovered in a residential part of downtown Baton Rouge. "Our detectives are working diligently to bring the person or persons responsible for this heinous act to justice," say Baton Rouge police, who aren't divulging who tipped them to the body. Community reaction is as powerful as the silence over what happened. "My heart is empty ... as I learned last night that Ms. Sadie Roberts Joseph was found murdered!" wrote State Rep. C. Denise Marcelle on Facebook. "This woman was amazing and loved her history. She never bothered anyone."

But she did make waves. In 2001, Roberts-Smith co-founded what's now called the Baton Rouge African-American History Museum; it's part of a Baptist church where her brother is pastor, per the Advocate. She's also known for hosting annual celebrations of Juneteenth (honoring June 19, 1865, when slavery was abolished in Texas) and launching two failed political bids in Louisiana, for the US Senate and office of lieutenant governor. Her sister, Beatrice Johnson—one of 12 siblings in the family from Mississippi—is still absorbing the news. "Friday, she came by (because) she had mixed some cornbread, but her oven went out, and she brought it here to put in the oven," she says. "The bread is still there. She never came back to get it." (Read more murder stories.)

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