Rename Lee High School to Sadie Roberts Joseph High School

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Rev. Alexis Anderson is petitioning to rename Lee High School to Sadie Roberts Joseph High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I am launching a campaign to rename this state of the art educational facility that unfortunately continues to host the name of a slave owning general and continues  the idolization of the confederacy. For far too long, we have honored and glorified racist individuals who fought to continue the practice of slavery and the oppression of black people. Robert E. Lee was the commander of the confederate army during the Civil War. The veil has been pulled off of the mythology surrounding Robert E. Lee. He was a cruel slave owner known for breaking up families. 

Sadie Roberts-Joseph (1944 – July 12, 2019) was an American community activist and founder of the Baton Rouge Odell S. Williams Now & Then Museum of African-American History in 2001.  When officials in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, refused to make black history part of the mandatory school curriculum, Sadie Roberts-Joseph created a museum dedicated to African-American heritage.  Today, the Baton Rouge, Odell S. Williams Now & Then Museum of African-American History occupies a four-room building under Interstate 10. It was named for educator Odell S. Williams, whose paintings of black inventors adorn the museum's walls. A bus outside tells the story of the Baton Rouge bus boycott during the Civil Rights era. A room inside has pictures of Barack Obama's inaugurations.  The museum was Roberts-Joseph's "love letter" to Baton Rouge, a way for her to share black history with young people,  

She was also the founder of a non-profit organization, Community Against Drugs and Violence (CADAV).   She organized the annual "Juneteenth Celebration" which commemorates the emancipation of slaves in the Southern United States.   She helped organize an annual Veterans Day celebration at the Port Hudson National Cemetery to honor veterans of all races who fought in the Civil War. 

The state of public education was a driving force for Robert-Joseph to launch the museum.  Wearing elegant African garb and an infectious smile, she brought a "quiet power" to causes she advocated for, including black history education.
After retiring, Roberts-Joseph opened the museum in 2001 in the former sanctuary of the church where her brother was pastor.  She ran it on her own for years with the help of grants and volunteers. The church pays for the utilities.  "It took an act of God for her to go on with the museum like she did," Armstrong said.

Unfortunately Sadie Roberts Joseph life was ended in homicide on July 12, 2019.  

In a town deeply divided by segregation, Sadie was known as a joyous educator and community advocate that met everyone where they lived.  The museum was a place of empowerment and encouragement that welcomed individuals as diverse as governors and political leaders to those who had lost everything in hurricane Katrina.  Her commitment to making sure that everyone recognized the importance of African American history as East Baton Rouge and American history.  Renaming a school that can help with healing seems a fitting tribute to a woman who had a vision of unity for her beloved city.

It's time for a change East Baton Rouge Parish!

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