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River City Links honor charter members, mark 30th anniversary

The River City Links recently celebrated 30 years of uplifting young girls and underserved communities.

Elegantly dressed members and their guests converged on The Guest House at Graceland to celebrate the organization’s anniversary last Sunday.

The affair reflected the dignity and elegance of African-American women, organizing to assist disenfranchised and underserved communities.

River City Links Chapter President Michelle L. Fowlkes praised the meaningful contributions to young people over the decades.

“The 30th Anniversary celebration recognizes the contributions of African-American women and their commitment to transformational programs for youth in Memphis and in Jamaica,” said Fowlkes.

“These women are selfless sheroes who form strategic alliances with many groups to empower communities, advance educational opportunities for young girls, and promote the classic arts.”

The 1993 Charter Members and First Initiate received a proclamation from the State Senate, presented by the Links Chapter President Michelle L. Fowlkes. Pictured from left are: Dr. Inetta F. Rogers, Lorraine Petties Bell, B. J. Worthy, Margaret Hubbard Strong, Rose Jackson Flenorl, President Michelle L. Fowlkes, Gwendolyn Washington Jones, Shirley Cobbins Peace, Beverly C. Robertson – first Initiate, and Melanie McWilliams Stafford. (Photo: Tyrone P. Easley/The New Tri-State Defender)

The event’s theme was, “Celebrating 30 Years of Legacy: Leadership, Friendship, Service, and Philanthropy.”

On May 15, 1993, co-organizers and founders Emma Jean Hubbard Stotts and Dr. Elma Hubbard Mardis brought together 19 other prominent women, who became charter members of River City (Tennessee) Chapter of The Links, Inc. River City became the 244th chapter of The Links, the 10th in the state of Tennessee, and the third in Memphis.

Charter members and the first initiate were honored for their decades of committed service, including Rose Jackson Flenorl, Gwendolyn Washington Jones, Margaret H. Strong, Jewel G. Wilburn.

And alumnae members Lorraine Petties Bell, Josephine Bennett, Shirley Cobbins Peace, Melanie McWilliams Stafford, Charlene Turner, and first initiate Beverly Robertson.

Guests from across Memphis and around the state and the nation were in attendance.

Other featured guests included the 14th Central Area Director Delores Henderson, who spoke at the unveiling of the 3rd History Book; Central Area Director of The Links Monica Boone Allen from the Windy City (Illinois) Chapter, and National President of The Links Ethel Issacs Williams, J.D., from the West Palm Beach (Florida) Chapter.

 Program awards, known as the Facet Awards, were bestowed upon the following organizations for contributions in their respective fields, as well as their continued support of River City Chapter: 

  • Services to Youth – LeMoyne-Owen College.
  • The Arts – Hattiloo Theatre and Collage Dance Collective.
  • National Trends, and Services – Memphis-Shelby County Schools.
  • International Trends and Services – Binghampton Christian Academy. 
  • Health and Human Services – Methodist Hospital-South. 

Students from the Collage Dance Collective gave a classical ballet performance.

Dr. Inetta F. Rogers, who chaired both the Book Unveiling and the anniversary

event, expressed gratitude and delight for the chapter’s strong community support. 

“Preserving the chapters and sharing with Memphis and Shelby County the impactful and sustainable service of River City Links over the past 30 years is such a  worthwhile endeavor,” Rogers said. “I count it another historic moment in the mutually beneficial relationship of the community and the River City Chapter.

The Links, Inc., is an international, nonprofit corporation, established in 1946. The present membership consists of more than 17,000 professional women of African descent in 299 chapters in 41 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, and the United Kingdom. 

It is one of the nation’s oldest and largest volunteer service organizations. The Links Inc., is committed to enriching, sustaining, and ensuring the culture and economic survival of African Americans and other persons of African descent.

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