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Advocate staff photo by JOHN OUBRE -- Sadie Roberts-Joseph speaks to the audience at the start of the 25th annual Juneteenth Roots and Heritage Festival on Saturday on South Boulevard.

East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gautreaux and the Professional Athletes Supporting Students organization will donate 200 backpacks to students in memory of slain civil rights activist Sadie Roberts-Joseph.

The body of Roberts-Joseph, 75, a longtime community leader, was discovered on July 12. One of her tenants, Ronn Jermaine Bell, has been arrested in the case.

The backpacks will be distributed on Aug. 9 at BREC's Howell Place gym at the Exxon-Mobil YMCA at 7717 Howell Blvd.

The backpacks will be engraved with the name of Sadie Roberts-Joseph and will also include her biography, as part of a campaign to continue her legacy, organizers of the event said.  

"They tried to silence Miss Sadie, but her voice will continue to be strong through the countless people she's touched," Sheriff Gautreaux said in a statement Friday.

Former NFL linebacker Lyman White, a board member of Professional Athletes Supporting Students, said, "Miss Sadie was a leader and woman of purpose. She was a woman who loved her community. We want everyone to remember her name."

In 2001, Roberts-Joseph opened the Odell S. Williams Now and Then African American Museum, later called the Baton Rouge African American History Museum. She also organized the city's Juneteenth celebrations. 


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