On the evening of November 9, 1946, Margaret Roselle Hawkins and Sarah Strickland Scott, two young Philadelphia visionaries, invited seven of their friends to join them in organizing a new type of inter-city club. This organizing meeting of The Links was not a spontaneous action. In 1945, Link Hawkins had conceived the idea of a group of clubs composed of friends along the eastern seaboard and had spent many hours with Link Scott in thinking, planning and discussing the possibilities of such an endeavor.
The two women envisioned an organization that would respond to the needs and aspirations of Black women in ways that existing clubs did not. It was their intent 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. Besides the two founders, the original members of the Philadelphia Club were Links Frances Atkinson, Katie Green, Marion Minton, Lillian Stanford, Myrtle Manigault Stratton, Lillian Wall, and Dorothy Wright. The club elected Margaret Roselle Hawkins as president, Sarah Strickland Scott as vice president, Myrtle Manigault Stratton as recording secretary, Frances Atkinson as corresponding secretary, and Dorothy Wright as treasurer.
Link Frances Atkinson
Link Frances Vashon Atkinson was born in St. Louis and began her education there. Later she attended schools in Cleveland. Like Co-founders Hawkins and Scott, Link Atkinson, she was a member of St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Philadelphia. Married to Dr. Nolan N. Atkinson, staff associate at Bryn Mawr Hospital and NAACP leader, she listed her “hobby or interest” as “my family and my home.” Link Atkinson is the mother of two children, Carolyn A. Thomas, vice president of a consulting firm, and Nolan, Jr., an attorney. She was a member of Jack and Jill, the Mothers’ Study Club, Matinee Ensemble, and the Bryn Mawr School and Home Group. She also served on the board of trustees of Westchester State College. Link Atkinson wrote the words to The Links song, originated the Coronation Carnival, and was the fourth president of the Philadelphia Chapter.
Link Marion Minton
Link Marion Minton was also born in Philadelphia and attended the University of Pennsylvania. She was active in the League of Women Voters, Jack and Jill, the Mainline Charity League, the Discarders, the Wayne Fellowship Guild and the Cho Club. She attended St. Coleman’s Roman Catholic Church. Link Minton was the wife of Dr. Russell F. Minton, an eminent radiologist who, for a number of years, was superintendent of Mercy Douglass Hospital in Philadelphia. Link Marion Minton died in 1979.
Link Katie Murphy Greene
Link Katie Murphy Greene, the daughter of Sidney and Belle Glascow Murphy, was born in Eugaula, Alabama. At a young age, she moved to Washington, D.C. where she attended Miner Normal School and Howard University. For a short time, she taught kindergarten in Washington. After her marriage to Dr. Harry J. Greene in 1929, she moved to Philadelphia where she resumed her career as a dedicated kindergarten teacher and soon earned her B.A. degree from Temple University. She was a life member of the NAACP, supporting her husband in his long service as president of the Philadelphia NAACP. She was also a member of the Philadelphia Grand Opera Company, Heritage House, and the Fellowship Commission. From 1949 to 1950, she served as Basileus of the Omega Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, and was for many years a trustee of her church, the A.M. E. Union Church. Link Greene was the third president of the Philadelphia Chapter. She also served as The Links’ first national public relations officer and was chairperson of the Eastern Area Conference help in Philadelphia in 1964. Stylish, scintillating, and hardworking, Link Katie Greene was awarded a gold bracelet at the 1969 Assembly for her unmatched record of attendance at every assembly for twenty years. She died in 1973.
Link Lillian C. Stanford
Link Lillian C. Stanford was born in New Brighton, Pennsylvania, and graduated from West Virginia State College. The wife of Dr. Stephen Stanford, she lived in Morristown, New Jersey. The Stanfords were members of the A.U. M.P. Methodist Church. Link Stanford was active with the Visiting Nurses Association and the Montgomery Hospital Association. In the early days of the organization, she worked very hard with the Vigilance Committee. At The Links 1949 Assembly, she was chosen as national historian.
Link Myrtle C. Manigault Stratton
Link Myrtle C. Manigault Stratton was a native of Philadelphia although at the time of the organization she was living across the river in Camden, New Jersey, and she continued her residence in that locality. Link Stratton attended High School for Girls in Philadelphia and Glassboro State Teachers College where she majored in elementary education. She did post-graduate study at Temple University, Vassar, and the University of Pennsylvania. Link Stratton was a member of the Hostesses, the Sunday Niters, Friends of Fellowship, the Mothers Study Club, Book and Theater, Bidders, and Jack and Jill.
She is a communicant of St. Augustine P.E. Church in Camden. Link Stratton has one daughter, Meryle Anne (Billie) Manigault, M.D., who practices in Germany. Link Stratton served as the first national corresponding secretary and as president of the Philadelphia Chapter.
Link Lillian Hudson Wall
Link Lillian Hudson Wall, wife of Dr. Lonnie C. Wall, was a native of Waynesborough, Georgia. She attended Haines School, Tuskegee Institute, and Hampton Institute. In Philadelphia, she attended Reeves Memorial Church and was active in the Hostess Club and the Sponsors Club. A woman who was known for making hospitality a hobby, Link Wall was cited by Ebony Magazine in 1950 as a “hostess of the year.” It was she who opened her home for the first meeting of the group members who were invited to form the new club on November 9, 1946. Although it cannot be measured, undoubtedly the charm and grace of the setting had a positive effect on the participants. Link Wall also gave the young organization an even more tangible gift. She who suggested the name “Links.” At their January 1947 meeting, the group accepted this name as best expressing the spirit and purpose of the new club–“linking friends for service.” Link Wall died on September 12, 1975.
Link Dorothy Bell Wright
Link Dorothy Bell Wright is a native of Philadelphia. She attended the School of Accounts and Finance of the University of Pennsylvania, and served as an accountant, auditor, and equal employment counselor for the Internal Revenue Service, and as a bank director and corporate secretary. In addition to awards and commendations in her profession and recognition for her unparalleled contributions to The Links, Link Wright served as first national president of Jack and Jill. She received service awards for her contribution to the support of the Chapel of the Four Chaplains of Philadelphia from 1952 to 1955, and was cited by the National Council of Negro Women for her community service. Link Wright was the Philadelphia Chapter’s first Treasurer and Chairman of its Constitution Committee, positions that she also held for the First Assembly in 1949. She served at two different times as president of the Philadelphia Chapter, 1963-66 and 1974-75. As a hobby, Link Wright indulged a love for historical research. Not only has she presented the history of the early days of The Links in Philadelphia and served as an organizing member of The Links’ national committee on archives and history, but she has also completed a valuable research study titled “Black Business in Philadelphia Prior to the Civil War.” Her interest in Black-operated businesses probably reflects the contributions made in this field by her famous family. Until his retirement, her husband, Emmanuel Crogman Wright, was president of the historic Philadelphia banking institution founded by his father, Major R. R. Wright, Sr., an ex-slave and financial genius. Link Wright has one daughter and one granddaughter.