MD Museum Gets Grant to Protect African American Artifacts

Maryland’s Banneker-Douglass Museum has received a $50,000 grant to preserve African American artifacts. 

The Governor’s Office on Community Initiatives announced the grant Monday from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

A total of $2.2 million has been awarded to 14 grantees.

The Banneker-Douglass Museum in Annapolis, Maryland, is home to more than 12,000 historic objects, exhibition spaces and archives library.

B&O Railroad Museum

The upgrades will allow the museum to properly store and preserve important pieces of Maryland’s African American history, primarily its Fine Art and African Art Collections.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Conference celebrates African American Catholics gifts to liturgy, ministry Catholic Philly

Liturgical dancers participate in the July 6, 2019, closing Mass for the Archbishop Lyke Conference, which celebrates the gifts that African American Catholics bring to liturgies and ministries. The annual gathering, named for the late Atlanta Archbishop James Lyke, was held July 2-6 in National Harbor, Md. (CNS photo/Andrew Rozario, Catholic Standard)

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (CNS) — Just before the July 6 closing Mass for the Archbishop Lyke Conference that seeks to enrich liturgies and ministries and promote evangelization at parishes serving Black Catholics, Andrew Lyke reflected on the legacy of his late uncle for whom the conference was named.

Archbishop James P. Lyke, who was a Franciscan, served as a parish priest in Memphis, Tennessee, as an auxiliary bishop in Cleveland and as the archbishop of Atlanta before he died of cancer in 1992.

Eight years earlier, he had coordinated the writing of “What We Have Seen and Heard,” a pastoral letter of the nation’s black bishops, and he also coordinated the African American Catholic hymnal “Lead Me, Guide Me,” published in 1987.

“He was one that loved the liturgy,” Andrew Lyke said in an interview with the Catholic Standard newspaper of the Archdiocese of Washington. “He believed very strongly that when we bring the drama of the Roman liturgy with the passion of black spirituality, it’s just a powerful experience.”

The Archbishop Lyke Conference began in 2004. This year’s conference was held July 2-6 near Washington, in National Harbor and took place in conjunction with the Father Clarence Rivers Music Institute. Father Rivers, a Catholic priest who died in 2004, was a noted composer of liturgical music whose work combined Catholic worship with traditional African American music.

The gathering’s theme was “Every Knee Shall Bend: Reconciliation, Black and Catholic.” Workshops tied that theme into a variety of topics, including Black spirituality and Negro spirituals. Some programs were offered for young adults, music ministers and liturgical dancers.

One of the workshops was titled “Black and Catholic: Our Gift of Blackness to the Whole Church,” and another examined the U.S. bishops’ 2018 pastoral letter against racism, “Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love.”

Other sessions looked at “Praying Quietly in a LOUD world!” and the sacrament of reconciliation. Workshops also dealt with specific ministries like proclaiming God’s word at Mass.

Andrew Lyke and his wife, Terri, who are members of Sacred Heart Parish in Joliet, Illinois, and are leaders in marriage preparation, education and enrichment, led a session on “Reconciliation at Home: Sacramental Echoes in the Domestic Church.”

“We’re training ministers of liturgy. We’re coming together. We celebrate our roles, and we’re sent off to do our job, just to make worship significant and meaningful and to help communities thrive,” said Richard Cheri, executive director of the Lyke Foundation that supports the operations of the conference.

Cheri, who serves as the director of music and worship at Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish in New Orleans, noted this “is the only conference intentionally focused on ministry to African Americans (in the Catholic Church).”

Challenges that the Catholic Church faces in the black community include “losing people to megachurches … and keeping our youth present, involved and active in the church,” Cheri said.

The Archbishop Lyke Conference drew about 370 people from 32 dioceses, including 110 people who sang in the conference choir. Participants included music ministers, lectors, hospitality ministers and Eucharistic ministers at parishes serving black Catholics.

“Everyone has a chance to share their gift,” said Cheri, who added that people leave the conference “with a sense of what is possible in their ministries.”

At a July 4 morning prayer session at the conference, Father David Jones, pastor of St. Benedict the African Parish in Chicago, said that in a world that struggles for forgiveness, God calls people to reconcile with each other.

“This is a God who is trying to bring us back together again,” said Father Jones. “We need to remember, the work of reconciliation is God’s work.”

Speaking of the sacrament of reconciliation, the priest said God “desires to rid us of our sin … so we can be free to do what God needs done.”

That morning, Ansel Augustine, formerly the director of the Office of Black Catholic Ministries for the Archdiocese of New Orleans, led a workshop on “Finding Jesus in the Midst of Your Paperwork: Reconciling Busyness with Ministry.”

“We need to keep Jesus in the midst of everything we do,” he said.

Augustine said that growing up in New Orleans, he was inspired by the outreach of his parish priest and a Sister of the Holy Family and eventually followed their example and worked with youth in his neighborhood.

“For me, one of the hardest things in youth ministry is having to bury our young people or visit them in jail. You think you’re a failure,” he said, and recalled consoling words spoken to him by his priest mentor who said, “It’s not about you. It’s about what God does through you.”

At his workshop, a woman who does foster care ministry in Denver said, “I feel like God is working through me.” A woman who works in cultural ministry in Pennsylvania said the goal of her work is to be a bridge among cultures and her diocese, and to get the people whom she serves “closer to Jesus.” And a woman who works in campus ministry in South Carolina added, “My outcome is for them to have faith in God and faith in themselves.”

On July 5, conference participants visited the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, where some of the exhibits highly the central role of faith in the lives of African Americans throughout the nation’s history, including in the struggle for civil rights.

The gathering’s closing Mass July 6 began with a joyous hymn, “This is the Day the Lord has Made,” sung by the conference choir. They clapped and sang as about a dozen liturgical dancers preceded the opening procession.

Welcoming the conference participants, Washington Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, the main celebrant, said, “No matter where we come from, we belong to the Lord.”

The concelebrants at the Mass included New Orleans Auxiliary Bishop Fernand J. Cheri.

In his homily, Dominican Father Jeffery Ott, who is pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Atlanta, said: “We are called to celebrate Christ’s presence with us, in this moment. … That means we are called to be a freed people in Christ, liberated by the saving grace of the Gospel.”

Concluding his homily, the priest said, “As we leave this conference, we are commissioned to go in Christ’s name, to be Christ’s light, to be reconcilers in our work and ministry, to lift up the name of Christ in all we say and do.”

The 2020 Archbishop Lyke Conference will be held June 16-20 at Xavier University in New Orleans.


Zimmermann is editor of the Catholic Standard, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Washington.

4 Fun Things To Do This Weekend: Festivals Galore

Breast Cancer is the Most Imperative Health Issue Facing African American Women

By Ricki Fairley, Vice President, Sisters Network, Inc.

Though Black women get breast cancer at a slightly lower incidence rate than white women, Black women are 42% more like to DIE of breast cancer than white women. That is an astounding number and indicative of a variety of factors, many reflecting racial disparities.

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among black women, and an estimated 33,840 new cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2019. An estimated 6,540 deaths from breast cancer are expected to occur among black women in 2019.

Black women need to demand the attention and care of health care professionals.

Women do not need to DIE from breast cancer. It can’t be prevented but early stage breast cancer (meaning it has been localized within the breast) has a 99% 5 year survival rate. Note the inequity here: the overall 5-year relative survival rate for breast cancer diagnosed is 81% for black women versus 91% for white women. And, 54% of breast cancers in black women are diagnosed at a local stage, compared to 64% in white women.

To add more fuel to the fire, Black women under age 35 get breast cancer at two times the rate of white women and DIE from breast cancer three times as often as white women.

So, what’s the problem? Why are Black women dying unnecessarily?

Higher death rates among Black women reflect the following:

  1. Black women are not taking action. While 92% of black women agree breast health is important, only 25% have recently discussed breast health with their family, friends, or colleagues. And, only 17% have taken steps to understand their risk for breast cancer.
  2. Black women lack information about the severity of breast cancer, breast cancer symptoms and the need for screening.
  3. Black women take care of others at the expense of their own health.
  4. Black Women are often at a more advanced stage upon detection.
  5. Black women may not have access to health care or health insurance so may have lower frequency of and longer intervals between mammograms.
  6. Because they may not have health insurance, Black women may not follow up on abnormal mammogram results because they can’t afford the diagnostic testing.
  7. Black women often don’t have access to the same prompt high quality treatment that white women have. They express that they are often feel disrespected by physicians and staff
  8. Black women face logistical barriers to accessing care (such as transportation issues or not being able to miss work or arrange for child care).
  9. Black women fear a cancer diagnosis.
  • Black women have the highest odds (2 times more likely) of getting Triple Negative Breast Cancer, a kind of breast cancer that often is aggressive and comes back after treatment. It has the highest mortality rate and is the only breast cancer sub-type that does not have a therapy to prevent recurrence. Note that younger women and women diagnosed at later stages are more likely to get Triple Negative Breast Cancer.


Early detection saves lives. Black women of all ages need to check their breasts monthly. We need to know what our “normal” feels like so if there is some abnormality, immediate action can be taken.

Black women need to understand the severity of this health crisis. We need to be talking about our health, our family histories, and educating all of the women in our lives.

The ongoing conversations in this country around access to affordable health insurance must include acknowledgement and action regarding the inequities for Black women.

Ricki Fairley, Vice President, Sisters Network, Inc.

Black women need to demand the attention and care of health care professionals.

We at Sisters Network, Inc., a sisterhood of survivors and thrivers, will continue to fight like girls and be the voice of Black women. We are committed to increasing local and national attention to the devasting impact that breast cancer has in the African American community. We are working diligently to reduce the mortality rate of breast cancer among Black women by generating awareness, garnering attention, providing access to information and resources, and supporting research efforts in the ecosystem.


Sisters Network®Inc. founded in 1994 by Karen Eubanks Jackson, 25-year and three-time Breast Cancer Survivor. SNI is the only national African American breast cancer survivorship organization in the United States and a leading voice in the fight against breast cancer in the African American community. Sisters Network is governed by an elected Board of Directors. Membership includes over 20 survivor- run affiliate chapters nationwide. To learn more about Sisters Network Inc., please visit or call 1-866-781-1808.

Labor Unions Announce New Alliance with African American Community

 After years of misconception surrounding African Americans’ access to joining Chicago’s construction labor unions, the Chicago & Cook County Building & Construction Trades Council, Construction Industry Service Corporation (CISCO) and St. Paul Community Development Ministries, Inc. (SPCDM) have formed a partnership to recruit black men and women with the desire to secure union construction jobs. Within the next several years, the demand for labor in the construction industry is projected to increase with reliable long-term work projections of 10 to 15 years. According to Pastor Kevin Anthony Ford, President of SPCDM, “This is the time to step up to opportunity…the future is bright!”

SPCDM’s pre-apprentice training program, helps men and women prepare themselves to pass the exam required to enter the U. S. Department of Labor registered apprentice programs. The Chicago & Cook County Building & Construction Trades Council, CISCO and local construction companies assist the program with teachers and mentors from the industry who provide field, theoretical, and practical equations to the classroom experience. Upon completion of its program, SPCDM’s students have increased their opportunity to score in the upper 5% on the entrance exam and advance to earn long-term careers in construction after their apprenticeships.

“This is a great opportunity for young African American men and women to earn meaningful, long-term careers through debt-free training and mentoring,” said Ralph Affrunti, President of the Chicago & Cook County Building & Construction Trades Council. “The building trades should be representative of our diverse city, and we are excited to rebuild the bridge between our unions and Chicago’s African American community.”

Local companies such as W.E. O’Neil Construction are enthusiastic about the partnership and have already hired numerous candidates who have come up through SPCDM’s pre-apprentice program.

Founder of African American museum in Louisiana died of ‘traumatic asphyxia’

An autopsy of the 75-year-old Louisiana woman who founded an African American history museum and was discovered dead in a car trunk revealed she died of “traumatic asphyxia,” authorities said Monday.

Sadie Roberts-Joseph died of traumatic asphyxia, which includes suffocation, according to a preliminary autopsy conducted by the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s office. Baton Rouge police also confirmed Monday that the car Roberts-Joseph was found in on Friday belonged to her.

“It is with great sadness and respect we investigate any unexpected or traumatic death,” the coroner’s office said Monday. “When our investigation involves an innocent victim, such as Ms. Sadie Joseph, it is particularly tragic. Our condolences are extended to Ms. Joseph’s family and friends.”

Sadie Roberts-Joseph, right, before the start of Stand Up for Children rally in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 2004.Arthur D. Lauck / The Advocate via AP file

Roberts-Joseph’s niece, Pat McCallister-Leduff, told NBC News on Monday that words couldn’t express the grief her family is experiencing and that her aunt “stood for everything opposite of what happened to her.”

“It’s horrible that somebody would actually come to Aunt Sadie and kill her and put her in her own trunk,” McCallister-Leduff said. “I just couldn’t imagine what they could have said to her or what could have happened to make them do that. She never would deserve anything like that.”

The uncertainty of what happened in the two-hour window between when the family last saw Roberts-Joseph and when she was found dead is “crushing,” McCallister-Leduff said. She asked that whoever killed her aunt to “just come forward.”

“Just tell us, let us know who did this,” she said. “Who did this?”

Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome said Roberts-Joseph’s development of the museum is “a testament of her visionary and pioneering leadership.”

“She loved this city and its people,” Broome wrote in a Facebook statement. “Her commitment to the cultural and educational fabric of our community is beyond description.”

Broome said a reward of up to $5,000 is being offered for information that will lead to an arrest.

Janelle Griffith contributed.

Activist who spotlighted African American history found dead in trunk of car, police say

Flowers were left outside the Odell S. Williams Now and Then African-American History Museum, whose founder, Sadie Roberts-Joseph, 75, was found dead in the trunk of a car Friday. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

July 14 at 6:00 PM

BATON ROUGE — Sadie Roberts-Joseph’s sister remembers her as a woman who made things better — who led neighborhood trash cleanups and house repairs, who launched a local group to fight drugs and violence, who founded an African American history museum because, as Roberts-Joseph liked to tell everyone, “If you don’t know where you came from, it’s hard to know where you’re going.”

That legacy was on Beatrice Armstrong-Johnson’s mind Sunday as she thought about how her 75-year-old sister died. Police found the body of the community leader and activist — a prominent voice in the push to make Juneteenth a state and national holiday honoring the freeing of America’s slaves — in a car trunk Friday, about three miles from her home in Baton Rouge.

“She was a total advocate of peace, love and harmony, and she died just the opposite,” Armstrong-Johnson, 68, told The Washington Post on Sunday.

Police are investigating and do not know the cause of the death, the Baton Rouge Police Department said in a statement Saturday.

The East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office will release a preliminary cause of death Monday, chief of investigations Shane Evans told The Post.

News of Roberts-Joseph’s death has brought an outpouring of grief and disbelief from friends, family and local officials familiar with her passionate advocacy for the preservation of African American history.

Sadie Roberts-Joseph was discovered dead in the trunk of a car Friday on North 20th Street in Baton Rouge. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

Rain pelted Kaufman Street on Sunday, where the sisters lived just two doors down from each other.

A tree was knocked down on the side of the dead-end street, and sandbags lined doorways braced for flooding. Plants crowded Roberts-Joseph’s front yard, and a plaque listing the Ten Commandments was set on a green porch wall.

One door over, Debbie Magee grieved for her neighbor of 13 years.

“She was the epitome of good. She stood for something,” said Magee, 39, as her 4-year old son, Lorenzic, played at her feet. “She wanted to make sure we weren’t judged on the Zip code we’re in.”

Roberts-Joseph warded off suspicious people on the street and always had a piece of fruit or a toy for children in the Scotlandville community, Magee said. And she stood by a local elementary school so often — handing out paper and pencils to children — that you could mistake her for a crossing guard, Magee said.

“She did not deserve for someone to take her life and then place her in a trunk and leave her there. That’s not right,” Magee said, as tears filled her eyes. “She will truly be missed.”

Roberts-Joseph’s work brought her into contact with leaders such as former president Barack Obama and civil rights activist Jesse Jackson, her sister said.

“My heart is empty,” Louisiana state Rep. C. Denise Marcelle wrote on Facebook after learning what had happened. The Baton Rouge branch of the NAACP mourned the loss of a “Cultural Legend” — a “trendsetter and icon” in the city where Roberts-Joseph revived Juneteenth celebrations and established her museum, the group said.

The Baton Rouge police said in a statement that Roberts-Joseph was a “tireless advocate” who worked with the department on everything from a bicycle giveaway at her museum to the neighborhood organization she founded, Community Against Drugs and Violence (CADAV).

The Odell S. Williams Now and Then African-American History Museum founded by Sadie Roberts-Joseph. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

Another major part of Roberts-Joseph’s legacy: her dedication to the Odell S. Williams Now and Then African-American History Museum, which she founded in 2001 and ran with volunteer help and donations. The Baton Rouge museum spotlighted black history and hosted gatherings for holidays such as Memorial Day, Kwanzaa and Juneteenth.

“It is exciting to see Juneteenth grow in popularity and support as America’s 2nd Independence Day celebration,” Roberts-Joseph said in 2002, when she was director of the Louisiana Juneteenth Holiday Campaign.

The museum, which features a brightly colored bus and paintings on its blue fence, sits next to the Baptist church where Roberts-Joseph’s brother serves as pastor. The museum is closed Sunday — but if someone at the services wanted to pop in, Roberts-Joseph opened the space up, Armstrong-Johnson said. She was there seven days a week.

The museum door was boarded up in preparation for Hurricane Barry, and mourners left flowers outside, with a sign reading “Going to miss u.”

Roberts-Joseph started the museum with the collection of a former teacher in the East Baton Rouge Parish, later adding exhibits on African art, inventions of African Americans and more, according to the Advocate, a local paper.

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

Then there were the community centers at which Roberts-Joseph worked, spearheading food banks and clothing drives, her sister recalled. There was CADAV, where she served for years as president before passing the job to a younger relative.

Roberts-Joseph may have met celebrities through her work but stayed humble, Armstrong-Joseph said, and always tried to marshal aid for those less fortunate.

“She sought resources that were greater than hers to help those that were in need,” Armstrong-Joseph said. “She never met a stranger. I don’t care who you were, you were the same in her eyesight.”

Armstrong-Johnson last saw her sister when she came over about 10:30 a.m. Friday to bake bread. Her oven was broken, Armstrong-Johnson said.

Roberts-Joseph left for appointments, Armstrong-Johnson said, and never came back.

“Needless to say, the bread is still here,” she said.

Knowles reported from Washington.

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The Worlds of Kathleen Collins

Does the discovery of a lost writer change our understanding of the past, or does it shape our experience of the present? If the playwright, author, and filmmaker Kathleen Collins had received more recognition during her lifetime, would her work have changed the way we think about and create American—especially African-American—film and fiction today?

These are the questions raised by the posthumous publication of two collections of Collins’s writing: Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? a collection of 16 short stories, and Notes From a Black Woman’s Diary, which includes short stories, plays, and screenplays, excerpts from an unpublished novel, and a selection of letters, as well as the titular notes. Both volumes have been edited by Collins’s daughter, Nina Lorez Collins, who in the weeks following her mother’s death from breast cancer in 1988 at the age of 46 filled a steamer trunk full of her unpublished writings. Some 20 years later, the younger Collins went through the trunk’s contents, and we’re now the beneficiaries of some of the works she discovered there.

During her lifetime, Kathleen Collins saw one of her screenplays become a movie—Losing Ground (1982), which she also directed—and one story and one play published. But she never achieved critical acclaim, and with the exception of a small group of aficionados on the film-festival circuit, few people saw her movie. Had these newly published works been available in her lifetime, she would have joined an emerging group of black women writers in the 1970s and ’80s that included Alice Walker, Toni Cade Bambara, and Toni Morrison. As a filmmaker, Collins shared more with independent directors like Charles Burnett, whose films present a quiet but steady focus on quotidian black life, than Spike Lee, but Losing Ground helped pave the way for the latter’s work too, as well as for films like Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust (1991), which was the first feature film directed by an African-American woman to be distributed in the United States.

The titles of the two volumes are compelling, if somewhat misleading. They call attention to an issue that Collins’s work rarely centers on: race. Collins doesn’t deny its existence or significance; her writing and films are not set in some post-racial utopia. In fact, in the brilliant title story of Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? she reminisces about a moment when idealistic young activists tried to live beyond race, only to remind us how entrenched we are in a world in which inequalities are often shaped by it. Even though race is a subject in her writing, her work is not driven by its drama. The stories of Interracial Love are more likely to engage race than are those of Notes, but they do so in indirect and subtle ways. “I could have occupied myself with race all these years,” Collins explains in one diary entry. “The climate was certainly ripe for me to have done so. I could have explored myself within the context of a young black life groping its way into maturity across the rising tide of racial affirmation. I could have done that. After all, I’m a colored lady…. But I didn’t do that. No, I turned far inside, where there was only me and love to deal with…. Instead of dealing with race I went in search of love.”

Founder of African American museum in Louisiana found dead in car trunk

A 75-year-old Louisiana woman who founded an African American history museum was discovered dead in the trunk of a car Friday afternoon, Baton Rouge police said.

A cause of death for Sadie Roberts-Joseph is not yet known, Baton Rouge police Sgt. L’Jean McKneely said.

“Our detectives are working diligently to bring the person or persons responsible for this heinous act to justice,” the Baton Rouge Police Department said Saturday in a Facebook statement.

Roberts-Joseph founded the Odell S. Williams Now and Then African American History Museum, now known as the Baton Rouge African American History Museum, in 2001, according to the Advocate. The museum is part of the New St. Luke Baptist Church campus on South Boulevard, where her brother serves as pastor, the outlet reported.

July 14, 201901:29

The website of the city’s visitor bureau says the museum features exhibits on African art, growing cotton, black inventors and a 1953 bus from the period of civil rights boycotts in Baton Rouge, among other things.

Baton Rouge police mourned the loss of Roberts-Joseph in its Facebook post, describing her as “a treasure” to the community.”

“Ms. Sadie was a tireless advocate of peace in the community,” the Baton Rouge Police Department said, adding it had opportunities to work with Roberts-Joseph “on so many levels.”

“From assisting with her bicycle give away at the African American Museum to working with the organization she started called CADAV, (Community Against Drugs and Violence), Ms. Sadie is a treasure to our community,” whose “loss will be felt in the community,” the department said.

The NAACP Baton Rouge branch said Roberts-Joseph was a trendsetter and icon in Baton Rouge who revived Juneteenth, a holiday that commemorates the June 19, 1865 announcement by a Union Army general in Galveston, Texas, that “all slaves are free.”

State Rep. C. Denise Marcelle said in a Facebook post that Roberts-Joseph had raised awareness of African American history.

“She never bothered anyone, just wanted to expand her African American Museum downtown,” Marcelle wrote. “I loved working with her and am saddened by her death.”

Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome said Roberts-Joseph’s development of the museum is “a testament of her visionary and pioneering leadership.”

“She loved this city and its people,” Broome wrote in a Facebook statement. “Her commitment to the cultural and educational fabric of our community is beyond description.”

Broome said a reward of up to $5,000 is being offered for information that will lead to an arrest.

Founder of Louisiana African American museum discovered dead in trunk of car


Homicide investigators are probing a “heinous act” after the body of a 75-year-old woman who co-founded an African American museum in Louisiana was discovered dead in the trunk of a car.

Sadie Roberts-Joseph, a Baton Rouge community activist who teamed up with police on an anti-drug and violence program, was found slain Friday afternoon when police were directed to a car parked in a residential neighborhood northeast of downtown Baton Rouge and discovered her body in the trunk, officials said.

“Our detectives are working diligently to bring the person or persons responsible for this heinous act to justice,” the Baton Rouge Police Department said in a statement.

Louisiana state Rep. C. Denise Marcelle called Roberts-Joseph an “amazing woman” who loved history.

“My heart is empty … as I learned last night that Ms. Sadie Roberts Joseph was found murdered!” Marcelle said in a statement posted on Facebook. “She never bothered anyone, just wanted to expand her African American Museum downtown, where she continually hosted the Juneteenth Celebration yearly. I loved working with her and am saddened by her death…. whoever knows what happened to her, please contact the authorities and say something.”

Police did not say how Roberts-Joseph, known as “Ms. Sadie” in her community, died, nor did they explain what led them to look in the trunk of the car parked about 3 miles from her home.

An autopsy is being conducted to determine the cause of death, police said.

Baton Rouge police officials called Roberts-Joseph a “tireless advocate of peace in the community.”

“Ms. Sadie is a treasure to our community. She will be missed by BRPD and her loss will be felt in the community she served,” police officials said in a statement posted on Facebook.

The victim’s sister, Beatrice Johnson, told The Advocate newspaper of Baton Rouge that Roberts-Johnson stopped by her house earlier on Friday. She said her sister lived near her in the Scotlandville neighborhood of Baton Rouge and would check in with her daily.

PHOTO: Police tape is pictured in this undated stock photo.

STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images Police tape is pictured in this undated stock photo.

“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,” Johnson told the newspaper. “The bread is still there. She never came back to get it.”

Roberts-Joseph helped found the Odell S. Williams Now and Then African-American History Museum in 2001. The museum, now known as the Baton Rouge African-American History Museum, is housed on the campus of New St. Luke Baptist Church in Baton Rouge.

She also organized the city’s annual Juneteenth festival at the museum, commemorating the abolition of slavery in the U.S., and partnered with Baton Rouge police to launch a Community Against Drugs and Violence program.

In a recent interview with ABC affiliate station WBRZ in Baton Rouge, Roberts-Joseph said her work at the museum and the annual Juneteenth event was meant “to celebrate, to embace” African American history and to “learn of our past and to be able to move forward in unity.”

Baton Rouge police are asking anyone with information on the case to contact homicide detectives immediately.