The Links, Incorporated, was organized in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on November 9, 1946, by Margaret Roselle Hawkins and Sarah Strickland Scott. When these two ladies combined their efforts and ideas to organize the first chapter, they set in motion an irreversible series of events. They established standards of civic responsibility and participation, which have changed the course of life in African American communities in the United States and abroad. Their friends were summoned together and called upon to “link” friendship and resources to form a chain of strength to improve the quality of life and provide hope for disadvantaged African American citizens.
They also envisioned an organization that would respond to the needs and aspiration of African American women in ways that existing clubs did not. It was their intent that the club would have a threefold aim — civic, educational, and cultural. Based on these 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.
During the next several months, other like-minded groups of women took up the challenge. In June of 1949, the Philadelphia Chapter hosted the National Assembly of all fourteen clubs, formalizing a nucleus for the organization.
Since their inception, sixteen National Presidents have led this organization and there have been 39 National Assemblies. The 32nd National Assembly was one of historic significance as they celebrated the first assembly, “Meeting Challenges in the New 21st Century with Courage, Vision, and Hope” led by Dr. Barbara Dixon Simpkins, 12th National President.
The membership now consists of nearly 14,000 professional women of color in 281 Chapters located in 41 states, the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. It is one of the 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 persons of African ancestry.
The outstanding programming of The Links, Incorporated has five facets which include Services to Youth, The Arts, National Trends and Services, International Trends and Services, and Health and Human Services.