Educated at Crozierville and at White Plains, he then went to the preparatory department of Liberia College and later to the College itself, getting a BA in 1944.
He started public life as Secretary to the Vice-President of Liberia between 1944 and 1949, before going to Howard University, Washington where he read for his LLB, which he took in 1952.
He went to Cornell University in 1954, by which stage he had already begun to play a major role as an international representative for his country, acting as secretary to the Liberian delegation to the Ninth Session of the UN Assembly in 1954-5 and as a member of the Liberian Codification Commission in New York in 1955.
He was admitted to the Bar in Montserrado in 1955 and to the Bar of the Supreme Court in January 1956. He started his working career in 1955 as a lecturer, at the Louise Arthur Grimes School of Law at the University of Liberia, becoming president of the University on April 6, 1959, and remaining in the post until his appointment as Secretary of State in 1972. He was dismissed by President Tolbert in July 1973.
While president of the University he greatly extended his range of public and international activities. He was the special consultant to the UNESCO Conference for Higher Education in 1961-2; deputy member of the administrative Board of the International Association of Universities in 1965-70, president of the International Association of University Presidents in 1971-2.
Son of a Methodist minister, with a family tradition of public service, he became an efficient and hardworking lawyer, educationist and international figure. Before his appointment as Secretary of State (later renamed Minister of Foreign Affairs) he was President of the University, where he bad earlier been a lecturer in the Law School. He has also been in continual demand by the United Nations and its specialised agencies as an adviser on legal, educational and political affairs.