BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Plywood and nails now cover the front door to the Odell S. Williams Now & Then Museum of African American History. It’s where Sadie Roberts-Joseph spent much of her time teaching and educating anyone willing to learn. Unfortunately, visitors can only experience its history from the outside for now.
Tara Wicker, District 10 councilwoman, says seeing the museum now closed to the public is hard.
“She wanted so badly for people to be able to use this museum and this place as a point of not only education, but beautifying, coming together with whatever differences we may have,” said Wicker.
Wicker is urging the community and city officials to give the museum a brighter future.
"I think as an elected official, as community reps, as people who just care about BR and our region and our history, it’s imperative that we recognize and come together,” said Wicker.
Currently, there’s no certainty on the museum’s future. State Representative C. Denise Marcelle says she’s been in talks with other leaders in the parish about securing funds that will help keep the museum going.
"She would like it to be reopened as soon as possible is my thoughts because of the kind of person she was. She carried this museum on her back. She was almost like a one-person board, so they want to make sure that these doors remain open,” said Wicker.
Marcelle says she’s also working with the family to help promote the Sadie Roberts-Joseph Memorial Fund to help keep the museum open. Tara Wicker says she hopes this can serve as an opportunity for the community to preserve an important piece of the city’s history.
“I think if we allow the energy and the progress that has been made as a result of what has occurred here dies, then it’s our fault and I think that we would do a grave injustice to the legacy and memory of and honor of Ms. Sadie if we do not continue that fire,” said Wicker.
As of now, the museum remains closed to the public.