Mr. Cooper is the oldest living member of President William V. S. Tubman’s cabinet. He is the great-grandson of James Spriggs Payne (1819-1882), Liberia’s fourth and seventh president. A great and knowledgeable citizen of Liberia with a wealth of experience are words that aptly describe Sam Payne Cooper. This senior citizen has held many positions. He started working while he was in elementary school: first, as a clerk in the office of Methusela Beyslow, the country attorney, when in the fifth grade; then, as a secretary to Vice President C. L. Simpson, when in the 7th grade; and also as the commander of the police schoolboy’s shift in Liberia’s newly formed police academy. He graduated from the College of West Africa (CWA).
Mr. Cooper’s brilliance won him a scholarship to Tuskegee University, from which he transferred to Cornell University and earned a Bachelor of Science diploma in general agriculture. He continued at Cornell, where he
earned double Masters in Business and Public Administration.
Upon returning home, Mr. Cooper established and became the general manager of Liberia’s Agriculture and Industrial Credit Corporation, an entity created to give loans to farmers. After a few years, Mr. Cooper transitioned to Chief of Budget, Finance, Material Control & Personnel of the then Department of Agriculture, Commerce & Labor. While there, he represented Liberia in many international conferences. Later, Mr. Cooper
became the Under Secretary and Secretary of the Department of Agriculture.
After Tubman’s death, Mr. Cooper went to law school. Upon completion, he was named judge of the circuit court. In 1979, Mr. Cooper resigned from his government post. He opened Cooper’s Law Firm, where he represented international businesses in Liberia. Mr. Cooper left Liberia in 1989. He has since traveled through Europe and presently resides in the United States.