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The Rose


The Petersburg Chapter, the seventh chapter of The Links, Incorporated, was chartered on May 7, 1948. The late Doris Reynolds of the Philadelphia Chapter presided at the chartering of the Petersburg Chapter and the induction of 14 charter members.  The late Eunice Brown Robbins, organizer of the chapter, served as first president.  The charter members included: Cleopatra Armstrong, Ruth Baker, Gladys Bland, Alma Brown, Marietta Cephas, Gladys Green, Evelyn Jenkins, Josephine Jones, Uarda Parnell, Susie Verdell, Adelaide White, Helen Williams and Virginia Williams.

Marietta Cephas, one of the charter members of the Petersburg Chapter, is the composer of the music to the National Song for The Links, Incorporated.

The Petersburg Chapter is also extremely proud that the 15th National President, Margot James Copeland is a Petersburg native, and an Heir O Link, daughter of the late Thelma James a former member of the Petersburg Chapter.

In the beginning, the chapter provided community service for both the Petersburg and Richmond areas.  Early programs included purchasing hearing aids for those in need; providing baskets of food and dinners for needy families for Thanksgiving; adopting teenagers; providing music lessons for youth; making donations to the YMCA Day Camp; the Red Cross; March of Dimes and NAACP Defense Fund.  The chapter honored and recognized candy stripers for volunteering 26,457 hours over a period of five years to Petersburg General Hospital (now, Southside Regional Medical Center).  When the Richmond Chapter was chartered in 1952, the Petersburg Chapter continued its programs in the Petersburg area.

Through the years, the Petersburg Chapter has embraced numerous community programs to drive the five facets and support the vision of our founders, such as:

  • "Just Say No:" a drug prevention program integrated into the school curriculum, designed to teach students alternatives to drugs and alcohol, benefiting more than 500 students.
  • "Project-LEAD: High Expectations" (Links Erase Alcohol and Drug Abuse): a program designed to prevent drug and Alcohol abuse and teenage pregnancy through the development of self-esteem and acceptance of responsibility for personal behavior.
  • "CLASS" (Children Learning About School and Self: a program designed for seventh grade females to improve school attendance, grades, participation in extra-curricular activities, and promotion of community involvement.
  • "SAS" (Students Achieving Success): an enrichment program for fifth grade students at the Children's Home of Virginia Baptist.
  • "Links to Success: Children Achieving Excellence:" a comprehensive education based program with effective instructional tutorial enrollment services and a parent involvement component.
  • "Evelyn Berry Scholarship": monetary awards recognizing High School Seniors for outstanding academic achievement.
  • HIV/AIDS: education and awareness sessions for elementary, middle, and high school students, area colleges and churches.
  • "Achievers' Plus": a tutorial and cultural enrichment program for middle and high school students.
  • International Outreach: a program conducting international teas and workshops for foreign students enrolled at area colleges/universities and Fort Lee personnel.
  • "Mammography for Life": a program aimed at increasing diagnostic breast screenings for women who could not afford lifesaving screenings; population identified, scheduled and serviced by the Petersburg Health Department.
  • Poster Art Contest: an opportunity for area students to participate in art competition.
  • "Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Partnership": an opportunity to conduct workshops for elementary and middle school students and to reveal the aesthetic value of arts.
  • "Prostate Cancer Awareness": provisions made for informing men in the area and giving each an opportunity for screening.
  • "Steps To Independence, STI": a program in partnership with Riverside Regional Jail, Prince George, Virginia that assisted women on a weekly basis during the last 3 months of their incarceration with tools for a successful transition into a positive lifestyle upon being released. STI was a five phase process that included job readiness, appropriate business etiquette, housing, and transportation.
  • "Youth Performing Arts": an opportunity to showcase the different talents and abilities of students in the Tri-cities area.
  • "Little Miss/Master Manners": a program for youth in grades 4 through 8, focused on character building and developing and practicing effective communication and social skills in various settings.
  • "Super Sundays for Seniors:": a program designed to give love, support, friendship and encouragement through visitation and special activities for senior citizens in selected facilities.
  • "Paint It Pink Petersburg": a coalition aimed at increasing the rate of mammography and decreasing the mortality rate related to breast cancer in the Crater Health District. More than 5,000 pieces of breast cancer literature are distributed annually at health and wellness fairs, in beauty salons and barber shops, and at local public facilities in the tri-cities. In addition, over one dozen forums and speaking engagements are attended annually with the sole purpose of increasing breast cancer awareness.
  • "Putting Life’s Puzzle Back Together": a program designed to assist ex-offenders with re-entry into society and with becoming productive and self-supporting citizens. Program participants received assistance with restoring their voting rights.
  • "App-Up Your Education": a program designed to encourage, mentor and assist high school juniors and seniors with the scholarship application process.
  • "Total U": a multifaceted and multi-dimensional mentoring program for High School female students that promotes academic achievement, provides exposure to culturally enriching activities and positive role models, and encourages healthy self-images and positive life choices.
  • Organizational Monetary Support: The Petersburg Symphony Orchestra; Petersburg Health Department; Petersburg Public Schools for Theater IV Productions; Mary Carter Beacon House; Petersburg High School JROTC Program; Petersburg High School Students Scholarship Fund; The Petersburg Public Library; and South Africa schools.

The Petersburg Chapter is geographically grouped with the Central Virginia Cluster (Commonwealth, James River Valley, Richmond and Southside Virginia Chapters) all a part of the Eastern Area states of which Dianne Smith Hardison is the director.  The chapter has 34 active members and 15 alumna members. Members continue to be involved in civic, cultural, and educational activities in the Tri-cities area and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The chapter has received the following recognitions and awards:

  • National Assembly recognition for outstanding programs
  • Eastern Area recognition for outstanding programming in The Arts, Services to Youth and National Trends and Services
  • Virginia State Board of Education recognition for outstanding programs and activities for students enrolled in Petersburg City Public Schools
  • Award from Virginia State University in recognition of the establishment of an Endowed Scholarship Fund
  • Award from the Mayor, City of Petersburg for outstanding service in the area of breast cancer awareness - “Paint it Pink Petersburg.”

Link Ernestine Gregory Wilson serves as President of the Petersburg Chapter.


Past Presidents

Doris Adkins Myrtle M. Dunn Maggie Nelson*
Ruth Baker* Muriel D. Felder Eunice Robbins*
Katherine H. Bennett* LaVerne G. Goodridge Ann C. Taylor
Evelyn Berry* Agnes D. Hassell Susie Verdell*
Alma Brown* Mildred S. Hayes Gertie B. Williams
Hermione Carter* Lillian Jenkins* Helen Williams*
Marietta H. Cephas* Carrie W. Johnson Virginia Williams*
Margaret G. Dabney Margaret C. Johnson Doris W. Woodson
Blanche Daniel* Josephine Jones* Deborah B. Young