The Role of Liberian First Spouses
Liberian First Ladies and consorts, including First Gentlemen, aka First Spouses, carry ceremonious, not salary duties, but hold a highly visible position in the country. In the first lady or first gentleman role, among other things, include hosting or organizing Executive Mansion diners with foreign guests, attending official ceremonies and functions with or instead of the president. The First spouse is also known to promote non-for-profit causes and can hire staff to help her achieve those causes. We argue that being first spouse and consort to the leader of the highest office in the land, the first ladies contribute more to public policy conduct and implementation than we credit them. The role they play in advising or influencing the presidents may range from routine, significant, and strategic depending on the their expertise, experience, and interest regarding the policy under consideration.
LIPD is still investigating the specific roles and functions that Liberian first spouses play in the country. And for the first time, readers will have a comprehensive understanding of some of the beautiful, intelligent, and patriotic Liberian first spouses, past and present.
Jane Rose Warring Roberts
Name: First Founding Lady Jane Rose Warring Roberts.
Family: Jane Rose Waring was born onto the union of Colston Waring and Harriet Graves, immigrants from Virginia. Mr. Colston Waring was a pastor of the First Baptist Church and one of the chaplains of the American Colonization Society. Suzannah Elizabeth Lewis, one of the designers of the Liberian Flag, was Jane Rose sister.
First Lady: 1848-1856
First Lady: 1872-1876
Birthplace: Petersburg City, Virginia, USA
Place of Death: London, England
Family: The couple had no children.
Office/ Career: The couple was dedicated civil servants, successful entrepreneurs, pioneers exhibiting the temerity of building a new nation without the wherewithal. They tirelessly pursued and supported educational or philanthropic causes, including building of a hospital for the settlers. As the testimony to their unflinching support for a better future, they endowed their inheritance and estate to Liberian education. They pursued self-government and achieved it for all of us, travelled together and groveled, at time, to powerful countries to recognize Liberia as an independent and coequal member of the comity of nations, and raised funds, both in official and unofficial capacities, for the maintenance and survival of the settlers and the country as a whole. They also impressed countless liberation movements worldwide. In 1900, Jane Warring Roberts attended the Pan-African Conference in London. She motivated, graced, and mesmerized the audience and made powerful friends and alliances with Pan-African activists there. Those friendships endured until she passed away in 1911. She was buried in England. Before passing on, she expressed the desire to return to and die in Liberia, the country that she and her husband instinctively loved and had dedicated their life building. In 2013, a relative brought her wishes to the Liberian Government.
First Lady Madam Clar Weah
Name: Clar Marie Weah
Location Born: Kingston, Jamaica
Family: Martha, George Jr. and Timothy.
Charity Organization: Clar Hope Foundation and She’s You Movement to among other things create an equitable society, restore hope through education, health, and other opportunities to disadvantaged Liberian children, youth, and women to better their lives.
Position/Profession: Mrs. Weah is a nurse by profession, a successful businesswoman, and a humanitarian. In March 2018, Clar Weah was also appointed, at a Women Symposium in Morocco, as an Ambassador and Champion for Women’s Football by the Confederation of African Football.
The couple met at a New York-based Chase Bank in the United States. The first contact was a professional one and that changed when George asked Clar Marie for her home phone number. The rest is history. What never stops, however, is her support for her man and the love both have for their three children and the Liberian people.
Antoinette Louise Padmore Tubman
Name: First Lady Antoinette Louise Padmore Tubman
First Lady: 1948-1971
Born: February 24, 1914 to James Stanley Padmore and Mary Louis Barclay-Padmore, both immigrants from Barbados. She was the Granddaughter of President Arthur Barclay, the 15th president of Liberia.
Career: Studied modeling and fashion in Paris, France after graduating from Bromley Mission. She subsequently established the first school for design and modeling in Monrovia.
Family: Five daughters and two sons
Birthplace: Monrovia, Montserrado, Liberia
Death place: Monrovia, Monrovia, Liberia
Death: May 18th, 2011
Death: 16 May 2011 (aged 97), Monrovia, Montserrado, Liberia
Office: Philanthropist, and humanitarian; she headed and unceasingly supported many charitable causes including children, handicapped, the poor, and orphans. The downtown Monrovia stadium, the Antoinette Louise Padmore Tubman Stadium, was named after her. She also established the William V.S. Tubman Memorial Museum in honor of her husband.
Victoria Anna David Tolbert
Name: First Lady Victoria Anna David Tolbert
Family: Daughter of former associate justice of the Supreme Court.
Born: 12 July 1916
Death: November 8, 1997
Death place: Plymouth, Hennepin County, Minnesota, USA
Children: 8. Three have passed away including her oldest son, Adolphus Benedict Tolbert that former president Samuel K. Doe killed along with her husband.
Office: Author, Lifted Up. An autobiographical exposition about her courage to live and the strength and perseverance she endured after the assassination of her husband, President William Tolbert, the 20th President of Liberia and the disorderly and destructive decades that ensured. She was also a philanthropist, and humanitarian; she headed and supported many charitable causes.
Jewel Taylor (1997–2006)
Name: 21st First Lady Jewel Howard Taylor
Born: January 17, 1963
Birthplace: Zorzor, Bong County, Liberia.
First Lady: 1997
Career: Taylor holds a graduate and two bachelor’s degrees in banking and economics, MBA at Cuttington University in Liberia, and a law degree from the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law.
Office: Vice President (since 2018). She previously served as Bong County Senator, Chairperson of the Senate Health and Social Welfare Committee on Gender, Women and Children, Deputy Governor of the National Bank of Liberia, now Central Bank of Liberia, President of the Agriculture Cooperative and Development Bank (ACDB) and Mortgage Financing Underwriter of the First Union National Bank.
Nancy Doe story
Name: First Lady Nancy Doe
Date of Birth: 1947
Birthplace: Zwedru, Grand Gedeh
First Lady: 1980-1980-1990
Family: 4. Two males and two females
Career: Retail marketer and merchant
Office: Establisher or creator of the National Market Women’s Association and a children’s playground at Martadi Public Housing Complex. She managed and supported the Bensonville Orphanage.
Nettie Zen Blah
Name: First Lady Nettie Zen Blah
First Lady: 2003
First Second Lady:1997-2003
Career: pursued studies theology at Monrovia Bible college after graduating from AME Zion Academy High School.
Office: Rock Church Pastor, Founder of lay Karnue humanitarian foundation academy. She also served the presidency as a spouse of Moses Zen Blah, when he became Vice President of Liberia between 1997-2003.
Mary Ann Crusoe Cheeseman
Name: First Lady Mary Ann Crusoe Cheeseman
First Lady: 1892-1896
Place of Death:
Family: 2 adopted kids
Career: Teacher. She was active supporter of teaching and training and always participated in teaching Sunday schools, engaging in the Women’s Auxiliary, and the Ladies Societies of the Baptist denominations in Liberia.