Who We Are

About The Links, Incorporated

The Links, Incorporated is an international, not-for-profit corporation established in 1946. The 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.
The Birmingham (AL) chapter is one of 84 Chapters in the Southern Area, which is comprised of chapters located in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, and the Commonwealth of Bahamas.
As one of the nation’s oldest and largest volunteer service organizations for women, The Links, Incorporated was founded to support friendship and while serving others. Members are committed to enriching and enhancing the lives of individuals in the communities that we serve.
The key programming initiatives of The Links, Incorporated, are organized into facets: Services to Youth, The Arts, National Trends and Services, International Trends and Services, and Health and Human Services. Programs are implemented through strategies involving public information and education, economic development, and public policy campaigns.

History of the Birmingham (AL) Chapter

The Birmingham (AL) Chapter was the first chapter chartered in the state of Alabama. The Chapter was organized by Mayo T. Forniss and began with a core group named the Pacesetters. This forward-thinking group included eight social and civic-minded women: Hattie Calloway, Columbia Clayborne, Madeline Davis, Mayo T. Forniss, Minnie Gardner Gaston, Theodora Shores, Bernice Sterling, and Essie Taggart.

Following approval at the National Assembly of The Links, Incorporated, the following women were added to the charter group: Lucille T. Brewer, Rose T. Brown, Rose Coker, Nell Cole, Reva Coleman, Vara Hinton, Edythe T. Jones, Cleo Nelms, Naomia Patton, and Margaret Willis for a total of eighteen members.

Southern Area Director, Georgia Schank, installed the charter members of the Birmingham (AL) Chapter on February 4, 1956, as the 66th Chapter of The Links, incorporated. She was assisted by Clifford Wells, of Orlando, Florida, and Edna Gray of Chicago, Illinois. The Birmingham (AL) Chapter was sponsored by the Nashville (TN) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated.

Service through Leadership

The Birmingham (AL) Chapter has an illustrious history of service beyond the chapter level. 

Charter member Minnie G. Gaston served as National Treasurer from

Charter member Theodora Shores served as Southern Area Treasurer from 1965-1969.

Charter Member Mayo T. Forniss
served as Southern Area Secretary from

Emma Clement Walker served as Southern Area Secretary from 1973-1975 and National Public Information Officer from 1974-1980.

Lydia Alexander served as Southern Area Parliamentarian from 1991-1995, 2007-2011, and on the National Nominating Committee from 2000-2004.

Vanessa Falls served as Southern Area Secretary from 2015-2017, 2017-2019, served as Southern Area Vice Director from 2019-2021, 2021-2023, and is currently serving as the Southern Area Director.

Several chapter members have served and continue to serve as committee chairs or on committees at the Area and National level, including:

Amyle Boykin Foster – Southern Area Chairperson for Services to Youth, 1990-1991
Tamara Harris Johnson – National Legislative Linkage Chairman, 1995-1997
Samuetta Nesbitt – Southern Area Journalist; Southern Area Education Linkage, Chairman, 1999-2003; Southern Area Archives Committee, 2007-2011; Southern Area Nominating Committee member, 2011-2013; National Archives and History Committee Links History Book Project, 2012-2013
Celestra Patton Teele – Southern Area Protocol Chair, 2003-2004
Carnetta Nabors Davis – Southern Area Archives Committee, 2012-2013; Southern Area Arts Chairman, 2015-2017 and 2017-2019, Southern Area Archives and History Chair 2023-2025
Ronda K. BeII – Southern Area International Trends and Services Chairman, 2019-2021
Debra Nelson – Southern Area Assistant to the Area Director, 2023-2025
Shia Hendricks - Southern Area Next-Gen Chair, 2023-2025
Diann Jackson - Southern Area LINKS-STEMREADY Chair, 2023-2025

Award-Winning History

The Birmingham (AL) Chapter continues to be a leading organization in service and philanthropy. We seek and foster partnerships with other organizations in our quest to impact and transform the lives of those we serve. Our efforts have resulted in award-winning programs, scholarships, and activities that have benefited citizens and communities in our city and throughout the world. Additionally, our programs are consistently recognized for excellence in service delivery and impact.


2020 – Inaugural Southern Area All Star Chapter recognition as one of the top performing Chapters in the Southen Area
2020 – National Best Practices Award, ARTWORKS: Emerging Young Artists
2020 – National Best Practices Award, Robotic Raceway (Oxmoor Valley Elementary) and Bison Bots (Parker High School)
2020 – First Place Award for Most Children Educated, National Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures Community Impact Award

2019 – Second Place, Southern Area Program Award, Services to Youth Facet, Robotics Program
2018 – Second Place, National Assembly, Colgate Community Impact Award
2017 – First Place, Southern Area Integrated Program Award, Joining Artists and Music in the Schools (JAMS)
2014 – First Place, National Integrated Program Award, Increasing Global Awareness, Linking With Liberia
2014 – Best Practice Award, The Arts, Joining Artists and Music in the Schools (JAMS)
2014 – Best Practice Award, International Trends and Services, Increasing Global Awareness, Linking with Liberia
2013 – First Place, Southern Area Arts Facet Program Award, Joining Artists and Music in the Schools (JAMS)
2013 – Second Place, National Trends and Services, Teens’ Guide to Dollars and Sense Program
2012 – National Best Practices Award, Childhood Obesity Awareness and Prevention Program
2011 – First Place, Southern Area, Display, Kiss the Cook: The Link to a Healthy Life
2011 – Honorable Mention, Southern Area, Healthy Life Choices, Avoiding Obesity Program
2010 – National Best Practices Award, Childhood Obesity Awareness and Prevention Program
2009 – Second Place Program Award, National Trends and Services, Hope for the Homeless Program