Save the Date

Monthly Chapter Meeting
2nd Wednesday

Executive Board Meetings


Go to monthly events

HBCU Connection —
Harris-Stowe State University
(Go to Links In Action)

30th Anniversary Hosting
‘Little Black Dress Exhibit’
Sunday, April 24, 2016
MO History Museum

30th Anniversary Celebration
Sunday, May 15, 2016

30th Anniversary Picnic
Sunday, May 22, 2016
Forest Park Pavilion # 8

Cluster Event
November, 2016

(Go to programs)

Scholarship Awards Program
June, 2016

2017 Scholarship Gala
February 11

The Arts





(Go to Programs)

–Connecting Links
Lead the Way
(Go to Links in Action)

–Dr. Lillian A. Parks
(Go to Programs)

(Go to Links in Action)

National Assembly
June 29-July 3, 2016
Las Vegas, Nevada

T R E N D I N G . . . .
(Home page)

HBCU Linkage
(Go to Programs)


Linked in Friendship and Connected in Service, the Gateway (IL) Chapter proudly celebrates “30+ Years of Friendship and Service” to the Missouri and Illinois communities. The Gateway (IL) Chapter was organized in May, 1986 by Dr. Lillian Adams Parks. The chapter has the distinction of being the “Original Bi-State Chapter” of The Links, Incorporated. The Links, Incorporated studied the growth of chapters throughout the United States and was interested in chapter growth in the Greater St. Louis Metropolitan Area. To that end twenty-nine women from Missouri and Illinois were inducted into the Gateway Chapter at the Park Terrace Hilton Hotel in St. Louis, MO.
The chapter provides services to women and children of African descent located in the St. Louis, Missouri, East St. Louis, Illinois, and communities within a 50-mile radius of St. Louis, Missouri and East St. Louis, Illinois. Fourteen of the original Charter members are actively involved in the friendship and service programs that the chapter provides to the communities it serves.

2016 usherd in the 30th Anniversary of the Gateway Chapter of the Links, Incorporated.
30 YEARS of FRIENDSHIP & SERVICE: Honoring the Past, Positioning for the Future
2017 begins a decade of unparalleled friendship and service to the sisterhood and to communities Gateway serves.

About US

The Links, Incorporated and The Gateway (IL) Chapter

The late Sarah Strickland Scott and the late Margaret Hawkins founded The Links, Incorporated in 1946 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Today, The Links, Incorporated is an international service organization with more than 10,000 members in 283 chapters.

The organization is committed to education, civic and cultural activities in The Arts, Services to Youth, Health and Human Services, National Trends and Services, and International Trends and Services. Through these program facets, the organization is involved in efforts to enhance the lives of peoples of African descent.

The boundary of the Gateway (IL) Chapter encompasses both Illinois and Missouri. Organized by Dr. Lillian Adams Parks and chartered May 5, 1986, the chapter is the Original Bi-state Chapter in The Links, Incorporated.

Charter Officers and Members
Lillian A. Parks, PhDPresident
Frankie M. Freeman, Esq.Vice President
Gwendolyn KeyRecording Secretary
Gloria M. PattersonCorresponding Secretary
Vivian AdamsFinancial Secretary
Diane ThomasTreasurer
Katie H. Wright, EdDHistorian
Fredda Witherspoon, PhDParliamentarian


Donna Blackwell, PhDAnnetta HillardMary A. Polk
Wilma Clopton, PhDJoyce HumphriesLillian Reed*
Myrtle Davis*Rosalee JohnsonJoyce Thomas, PhD
Belma GivensBetty Lee*Cynthia Thomas
Audrey Gooch-ElliottRuth LewisLena Weathers, PhD
Frances Gooden, PhDLula Lockett, PhDJudy Woods-Williams
Johnetta HaleyFan McCollum, PhDJane Woods*


Past Presidents2016-2018 Chapter Officer
Lillian A. ParksGloria RenoPresident
Frankie M. FreemanDarnetta ClinkscaleVice President-Membership
Judy Woods-WilliamsNina CaldwellVice President-Programs
Frances Gooden*Shevon HarrisRecording Secretary
Ruth LewisStacy EdwardsCorresponding Secretary
Julia Holmes*Courtney Vales RobinsonTreasurer
Queen FowlerAndrea Johnson LeeFinancial Secretary
Sandra Reid* Parliamentarian
Bessie Peabody Communications/PR
Carletta J. Harlan Protocol
JoAnne Hamilton-Parks  


Charter Officers and Members
Lillian A. Parks, PhD
Frankie M. Freeman, Esq.
Vice President
Gwendolyn Key
Recording Secretary
Gloria M. Patterson
Corresponding Secretary
Vivian Adams
Financial Secretary
Diane Thomas
Katie H. Wright, EdD
Fredda Witherspoon, PhD

Donna Blackwell, PhD
Annetta Hillard
Mary A. Polk
Wilma Clopton, PhD
Joyce Humphries
Lillian Reed*
Myrtle Davis*
Rosalee Johnson
Joyce Thomas, PhD
Belma Givens
Betty Lee*
Cynthia Thomas
Audrey Gooch-Elliott
Ruth Lewis
Lena Weathers, PhD
Frances Gooden, PhD
Lula Lockett, PhD
Judy Woods-Williams
Johnetta Haley
Fan McCollum, PhD
Jane Woods*

Past Presidents
2016-2018 Chapter Officer
Lillian A. Parks
Gloria Reno
Frankie M. Freeman
Darnetta Clinkscale
Vice President-Membership
Judy Woods-Williams
Nina Caldwell
Vice President-Programs
Frances Gooden*
Shevon Harris
Recording Secretary
Ruth Lewis
Stacy Edwards
Corresponding Secretary
Julia Holmes*
Courtney Vales Robinson
Queen Fowler
Andrea Johnson Lee
Financial Secretary
Sandra Reid*

Bessie Peabody

Carletta J. Harlan

JoAnne Hamilton-Parks



Links In Action



The childhood home of Renown East Saint Louis, IL Native and Trumpeter Miles Davis in a stage of renovation. The fundraising reception was chaired by Gateway Link Lauren Parks. Go to “TRENDING’ on the Home page for a view of the home.


Gateway Chapter members  hosted a gathering of Link Sisters, visitors and friends at the Gateway 30th Anniversary Little Black Dress Affair which was held during the ‘Little Black Dress from Mourning to Night’ Exhibition at the Missouri History Museum. Shown here are Gateway members:

Dr.Carletta J. Harlan, 30th Anniversary Program Chair, Mrs. Gwendolyn Key, Charter Member, and Mrs. Florence Gillespie, Alumni Member

Links Cluster Programs — Click on the link to read the article.


Connecting Links Mentoring Program Participants

Connecting Links Lead the Way

The Gateway (IL) Chapter
Lillian Parks, Ph.D. 2012 and 2013 Scholarship Awards Program
The Connecting Links Mentoring Program had ended. The 43 participants– scholarship recipients, their parents and family members — left the classroom for the next session with enthusiasm and anticipation. As they moved to the Awards Program, many were overheard commenting: “It was outstanding.” “I am so glad I attended this program today.” “The gentlemen were good. I enjoyed them.” “Awesome!”
The occasion was the Gateway (IL) Chapter’s Dr. Lillian Adams Parks 2012 and 2013 Scholarship Awards Program held Sunday, June 23, 2013 at the St. Louis Community College William J. Harrison Education Center located at 3140 Cass Avenue in St. Louis, MO. Twelve outstanding and deserving young scholars from the Bi-State communities were presented scholarships ranging from $500.00 to $1,000.00. There were three segments of the scholarship program — the Connecting Links Mentoring Program, the Awards Program, and the Reception.
Connecting Links, the husbands of members of the Gateway (IL) Chapter, set the stage for an afternoon of inspiration, validation, communication, and fun. During the Mentoring Program, the Connecting Links, who were gentlemen from the corporate, public, and entrepreneurial arenas, offered sage counsel to the talented twelve about how to successfully navigate the college experience. The personal and exclusive experiences shared by the Connecting Links encouraged open dialogue with award recipients, family members and their guests. KUDOS and rave reviews were given to the Connecting Links for facilitating an outstanding program. They were Mr. George (Bonnie) Gipson, Mr. Jesse (Rosalee) Johnson, The Honorable Mayor Alvin (JoAnne) Parks, and Mr. Kelvin (Valerie Bell) Westbrook.
A statement to summarize the essence of the program is taken from the comments made on an exit survey by a Gateway member: “Excellent program. Well executed. This could grow to be a benchmark initiative. Black men in front of Black young people, talking about success!!! Powerful.”


2014 Scholarship Awardees

The 2014 Scholarship Awardees are accompanied by Gateway (IL) Chapter members Dr. Gwendolyn Packnett and Chapter President JoAnne Hamilton-Parks (left), and
Dr. Lillian A. Parks and Dr. Carletta J. Harlan (right).

Connecting Links awaiting their presentation as mentors to scholarship recipients and their families.


Gateway (IL) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated
Harris-Stowe State University

Salute the 2015 Dr. Lillian Adams Parks Scholarship Recipients
It was a day of firsts. The first Historically Black College and University west of the Mississippi partnered with the first Bi-State Chapter of The Links, Incorporated to host and present, respectively, a mentoring program and awards ceremony to outstanding scholars, their families, and guests from schools in the Illinois and St. Louis regions. Harris-Stowe State University-St. Louis, MO and The Gateway (IL) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated partnered to present The 2015 Dr. Lillian Adams Parks Scholarship Awards Program and Reception at the William L. Clay Early Childhood Center on the campus of the regional Historically Black College and University (HBCU). Partnership and participation with Historically Black Colleges and Universities are one of the national initiatives of The Links, Incorporated. This historical partnership adds to the many firsts Harris-Stowe State University and the Gateway (IL) Chapter have experienced through the years.
In 1857 the St. Louis Board of Education founded Harris Teachers College (named for William Torrey Harris) to prepare white teachers for white elementary schools. In 1890 the St. Louis Board of Education founded Stowe Teachers College (named for Harris Beecher Stowe) to prepare black teachers for black elementary schools. The two were merged in 1954. In 1987 Harris-Stowe College was named one of the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) under the U. S. Department of Education.
The Links, Incorporated was established in 1946 as 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. In May, 1986 Dr. Lillian Adams Parks organized the Gateway (IL) Chapter of the Links, Incorporated. It is the original Bi-State Chapter of the organization. On July 12, 2015 the partnership with Harris-Stowe State University to enhance the Gateway (IL) Chapter scholarship program became a reality.
Seven scholarship recipients participated in the programs facilitated by members of the Gateway Chapter and their spouses at Harris-Stowe State University. Affectionately called ‘Connecting Links’, the spouses continue to promote a legacy that affords young awardees an opportunity to experience outstanding male leadership and words of wisdom from icons in the African American communities. Connecting Links Carlton Adams, Dr. Larry Jones, David Littleton, Alvin Parks, Jr., and Judge Milton Wharton facilitated the 2015 Connecting Links Mentoring Program.

Greetings from Dr. Dwayne Smith, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Harris-Stowe, and from Mr. Shawn A. Baker, Associate Dean of Student Success, expounded the significance of the programs being hosted by Harris-Stowe, and applauded the partnership between the university and the Gateway Chapter. Mrs. JoAnne Hamilton-Parks, Chapter President, reciprocated with words of gratitude to the university, and presented an inspirational challenge to the young scholars and all in attendance.
Reflections from Dr. Lillian Adams Parks, for whom the scholarship is named and the Chapter organizer, touched the heads and the hearts of those in attendance. An outstanding speaker and leader, Dr. Parks’ words encouraged excellence in all endeavors.

The ending reception provided an opportunity for members of the Gateway Chapter and Connecting Links to personally congratulate the scholarship recipients and to engage in informal exchanges with their families.

Dr. Denise Hooks-Anderson gives kudos to a returning scholarship recipient at the 2015 Dr. Lillian Adams Parks Scholarship Awards Program & Reception.
Gateway (IL) Chapter Links and Friends attending the 2014 Breast Cancer Awareness Tea
Gateway members gather following the Friendship Luncheon held during the presidency of Sandra Reid (deceased) pictured third from right.
Gateway Past-Vice President-Programs Mary A. Polk takes a minute to enjoy the Chapter’s International Trends and Services Exhibit at the “America I Am” presentation. The 25th Anniversary Event was a Gateway collaboration with the Saint Louis History Museum.
Gateway members Joyce Humphries, Johnetta Haley and Valerie Bell and Connecting-Links entertain at the Silver Anniversary Christmas at the Rotunda (East Saint Louis, Illinois City Hall) celebration.
Organizer Lillian A. Parks, Past-President Carletta Harlan, Immediate Past President Joanne Hamilton-Parks and Former ESL Mayor Alvin Parks at an annual Scholarship Awards Program and Reception.


2016-2018 Chairs

Vice President – Programs:  Nina Caldwell

The Arts: Kilinyaa Cothran and Lauren Parks

Health and Human Services: Rhonda Adams and Edith P. Colbert

International Trends & Services: Donna Knight and Audrey Jones

National Trends & Services:   Leah Harris and Linda Baker-Roby

Services to Youth: Patricia Reed-Boswell and Judi Griffin


Linking with HBCU to address Sexual Assaults on College Campsuses

Harris Stowe State University Article with Photos


Darnetta Clinkscale, Co-chair – Felicia Gillespie – Sharonica Hardin, Chair

Carletta J. Harlan –  Peggy Lewis LeCompte – Lillian A. Parks, Chapter Organizer

Click here to view The Links, Incorporated National Programs Page

Click here to view the Central Area Links Web Site

Dr. Lillian A. Parks Scholarship Program

The Gateway Chapter’s prestigious Scholarship Program recognizes the educational desires and needs of African American and minority students. Named in honor of Dr. Lillian Adams Parks, Organizer of the Gateway Chapter and nationally renowned African American educator, the scholarship program is designed to enhance educational opportunities.

Students seeking a career in one or more of the following fields: education, technology, business, social and health services are eligible to apply.



2017 GATEWAY SCHOLARSHIP Guidelines and Procedures

2017 SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION Dr. Lillian Adams Parks Scholarship (Gateway)


Dr. Lillian Adams Parks, Organizer of the Gateway (IL) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated is a renowned educator, former superintendent of schools, civic leader, and an illustrious speaker and motivator.

2015 Scholarship Recipients

Darnetta Clinksdale, Scholarship Committee Co-chair, closes the 2015 Scholarship Awards Program with an invitation to the program reception.

William L. Clay (photo) appears to be one of the mentors at the scholarship reception.
Friends and Family enjoy the 2016 Scholarship Reception.