Angie Brooks, the assistant secretary of foreign affairs for Liberia, spoke at NC State in 1963 as part of the College Union Forum Committee’s Colloquium on Emerging Nations. She was advocating aid to African nations, but what she discovered was that the segregationist South of the 1960s couldn’t even muster up the simplest form of hospitality for Africans.
It was on this day 50 years ago that, after being well-received by the NC State audience at the colloquium, Brooks and her nephew were refused service by the Sir Walter Raleigh Hotel and the S&W Cafeteria in Raleigh, according to a 1963 article in The Technician.
At the S&W Cafeteria, Brooks stepped in line for service. After the manager initially told her he would not serve her, he closed down the line. The Technician reported that upon confronting Brooks, the manager asked, “Do you want a job as a chef or a cook?” When she replied that she simply wanted to eat, he reiterated he could not serve her.
“In all my experience…traveling in Africa, Europe and in the United States,” Brooks told the manager, “I have never been treated in this manner.”
Before Brooks left the establishment, she gave the manager her card and invited him to Liberia, where she promised he could eat in any restaurant.
Brooks went on to be elected the first African woman president of the United Nations General Assembly. She died in 2007. The Angie Brooks International Centre was established in 2009 as a nongovernmental organization in Liberia to empower women in West Africa and around the world.