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Service founded on friendship

It all began on November 9, 1946 when two friends in Philadelphia, Margaret Roselle Hawkins and Sarah Strickland Scott, invited seven of their friends to discuss forming a new type of club to respond to the needs of African Americans in the aftermath of World War II. 


There were other clubs in existence, but nothing that quite accomplished what these two women envisioned. They wanted to respond to the concerns of civil rights and racial injustices with a service-oriented organization that promoted civic, educational and cultural concerns and to lead Black women in postwar America.

The seven friends invited to join them were Frances V. Atkinson, Katie M. Greene, Marion Minton, Myrtle Manigault Stratton, Lillian C. Stanford, Lillian H. Wall and Dorothy B. Wright.  These women set in motion an irreversible series of events that would improve the lives of fellow Americans.


Based on the threefold aims, the club would implement programs, which its founders hoped would foster cultural appreciation through the arts, develop richer inter-group relations and help women who participated to understand and accept their social and civic responsibilities. Through the years the organization has expanded and refined its mission and membership, endured social and racial upheavals.


The Links are one of the nation’s oldest and largest volunteer service organizations of extraordinary women who are committed to enriching, sustaining and ensuring the culture and economic survival of African Americans and other persons of African ancestry.


We are Incorporated as an international, not-for-profit corporation with a membership that consists of 12,000 professional women of color in 270 chapters located in 42 states, Washington, DC and the Bahamas. 


The members of The Links are thought-leaders and influential decision-makers who are distinguished in their fields and have made a difference in their communities and the world. 


They are business and civic leaders, role models, mentors, activists and volunteers who work towards a common vision by engaging like-minded organizations and individuals for partnership. Links members contribute more than 500,000 documented hours of community service annually, strengthening their communities and enhancing the nation. The organization is the recipient of awards from the UN Association of New York and the Leon H. Sullivan Foundation for its premier programs.


The outstanding programming of The Links, Incorporated has five facets:

The programs are implemented through strategies such as public information and education, economic development and public policy campaigns.

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