Sister Mary Laurene Brown, President of Stella Maris Polytechnic – a Roman Catholic institution of higher learning, and author of many textbooks and other publications, is already one of the nation’s most outstanding daughters.
True to form, she has done it again by writing and publishing a book about another eminent Liberian woman, Madam Angie Brooks, the first African woman to be elected President of the United Nations General Assembly. Entitled Dr. Angie Brooks-Randolph, Liberia’s Phenomenal National and International Servant, the book traces Angie Brooks’ upbringing in her native Brewerville, Montserrado County to her graduation from Brewerville’s Lott Carey Baptist Mission. Methodist at birth, she became a Baptist because of her connection with Lott Carey. She returned to Lott Carey to teach, then to become its consultant and later its Superintendent.
She was born on August 24, 1916, the second of 10 children of Thomas Joseph and Theresa Ellen Brooks, a Vai-Mandingo-Gola woman. Angie married Counselor Richard A. Henries and bore him three sons before the marriage ended in divorce. President Tubman awarded her a scholarship to enter Shaw University, North Carolina, United States of America, where she earned her Bachelor’s in Social Science in 1949. She later matriculated to the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where she studied Law, earning a Bachelor’s in 1952. She returned to Shaw 10 years later for her Doctorate in Law, and later did graduate work at the Howard University in Washington, D.C., and the University of London.
Returning to Liberia, Angie was appointed Assistant Attorney General in the Department of Justice. She also became professor of law at the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, University of Liberia.
In 1954 President W.V.S. Tubman appointed her on the Liberian delegation to the United Nations General Assembly. With her distinguished background in law, she soon began to prove her mettle, not merely as a member of the Liberian delegation. Her colleagues in the UN international family soon began calling her “our Miss Brooks.” Soon, she was elected Vice Chairman of the Fourth Committee, Trust and Non-self-Governing Territories, nominated by her predecessor from Iraq, seconded by the United States. The Committee took care of the affairs in 79 dependent territories.
In 1962 Ms. Brooks was elected Chairperson of the UN Commission for Ruanda-Urundi. Two years later, in 1964, she was chosen as Chairperson of the UN Visiting Mission to the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. In 1965 she was elected Vice President of the Trusteeship Council and elected its President the following year, the first African, during which she oversaw the independence of Togo, Cameroon and other countries.
In September 1969 she attained the pinnacle of her stature at the UN, when she was elected President of the UN General Assembly, the second woman and so far the first and only African woman to hold that position. According to Sister Laurene, “Angie Brooks received the coveted gavel as President of the United Nations General Assembly on September 16, 1969.”
There are three reasons why we accord this Editorial space to Angie Brooks. The first is in recognition of her outstanding service and achievements in this most important world body, the United Nations—the first and so far the only African woman to do so.
Second, we wish to join Sister Laurene in highlighting Angie Brooks’ phenomenal story to Liberians, in particular young Liberian women, and help inspire them to take seriously their studies and everything they do in life and aim high and push for the moon.
Thirdly, we write this Editorial as a sincere commendation and thanks to Sister Laurene for writing and publishing this book on this outstanding Liberian woman, Angie Elizabeth Brooks-Randolph. It is our hope that Sister Laurene’s effort in giving us this book will inspire other Liberians to look around Liberia, observe people, developments and events, past and present, and muster the foresight, courage and determination to write their own books about them.
Sister Laurene has shown us that there is a serious and urgent need for Liberians to write and tell their stories to the world. Our Monday Editorial, which dwelt on the theme of History, articulated the urgent need for Liberians to write on their history, their culture and everything Liberian and African.
In this bold attempt, Sister Laurene has proven that it can be done. We pray that her work will inspire other educators, other women, other scholars and other Liberians to write, write, write and help our people better understand themselves, their people, their country, its institutions and things Liberian and African.