Our History

The Gateway (IL) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated

Historical contributions by Katie H. Wright, PhD 

The precursor to establishment of the Gateway Chapter was MELIG. MELIG (Metro-East Links Interest Group) was organized by Dr. Lillian A. Parks on November 9, 1984. Women who were interested in becoming members of The Links, Incorporated worked together to promote and conduct activities geared toward “Improving the Quality of Life” and epitomizing “Friendship, Service and Leadership.” In fulfilling these goals, the group implemented a program commensurate with the programmatic thrust of The Links, Incorporated. Subsequently, the Gateway (IL) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated was chartered May 5, 1986. Charter Officers and members were:

Lillian A. Parks, PhD
Frankie M. Freeman, Esq* 
Gwendolyn Key 
Gloria Patterson 
Vivian Adams*
Diane Thomas 
Katie H. Wright, EdD 
Fredda Witherspoon, PhD* 

Vice President
Recording Secretary
Corresponding Secretary
Financial Secretary

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


Linked in Friendship and Connected in Service, the chapter provides services to women and children of African descent located in the St. Louis, Missouri, East St. Louis, Illinois, and contiguous communities within a 50-mile radius of St. Louis and East St. Louis.  Women who become members of The Links, Incorporated form a chain of friendship with a singular purpose of serving community needs for the improvement of life and the pursuit of excellence in the programmatic areas of The Arts, Health and Human Services, International Trends & Services, National Trends & Services, and Services to Youth.