Eastern Area History
Link Madeline Broaddus
1st Eastern Area Director, Central New Jersey (NJ) Chapter
Theme: Link Women in Today’s World
Link Madeline Broaddus, was elected the first Area Director by twenty-four chapters at the first Area Conference in Philadelphia in 1952. She initiated Area Conference themes by introducing her theme “Link Women in Today’s World.” Link Broaddus served as the first National Recording Secretary from 1949 to 1954 under Link Sarah Scott. She was instrumental in helping to organize additional chapters throughout the Eastern Area, and in the development of the organization into Areas.
Link Prudence Irving
2nd Area Director, Boston (MA) Chapter
Theme: Promoting Dynamic Dimensions
The second Area Director, Link Prudence Irving, operated under the conference theme, “Promoting Dynamic Dimensions.” During her area conference she held a discussion on “Our Link Dollar – Past, Present and Future.” Professionally, she pursued social work on the state and federal levels with a Masters degree in social work from Pittsburgh University. Link Prudence was chair of the 15th National Assembly planning committee.
Link Bessie Hill
3rd Area Director, North Jersey (NJ) Chapter
Link Bessie Hill, former president of the North Jersey, New Jersey Chapter, served as the third Area Director. She developed a plan to benefit the NAACP and the National Urban League. The Links was the first national organization to vote for all its local chapters to become NAACP Life members.
Link Beatrice Butler
4th Area Director, Baltimore (MD) Chapter
Theme: Collective Strength and Organized Action
Link Beatrice Butler, initiated the Daisy Lampkin Award to recognize an outstanding woman in the Area for a significant contribution in projecting the Black image and the heritage of African Americans. Her conference theme was “Collective Strength and Organized Action”. Previously, Link Beatrice served as the first National Recording Secretary from 1949 to 1954 under the first National President and co-founder, Link Sarah Scott.
Link Millicent Bolling
5th Area Director, New Haven (CT) Chapter
Link Millicent Bolling Smith, while serving as chair of the English Department at Jonathan Law High School in Milford, Connecticut, was elected the fifth Eastern Area Director at the Area Conference in Cherry Hill, New Jersey for a term from 1969 to 1973. Link Millicent received her Master’s degree at the Breadloaf School of English, and her sixth-year diploma in Administration and Supervision from the University of Bridgeport. Her Administration did a feasibility study on establishing a National Headquarters for The Links, Incorporated.
Link Thelma Ayers Hardiman
6th Area Director, Buffalo (NY) Chapter
Theme: To Serve with Love
Link Thelma Ayers Hardiman was born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1920 and graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in 1937. She received her BA degree in Education and Sociology from LeMoyne-Owen College in 1941, her Masters of Public Health from the University of Michigan and married Connecting Link Winton Joy Hardiman in 1943. Link Thelma taught in the Buffalo, New York Public School System for thirty-seven years, and retired as a principal in 1983. She was the recipient of numerous honors and awards in Buffalo, and served, for eighteen years, as the chair of the Ebony Fashion Fair, sponsored by the Buffalo Links Chapter.
Link Thelma deemed her greatest accomplishment, in addition to the normal Area activities, to be the supervision and care of our co-founder, Link Sarah Strickland Scott, giving her the love and friendship that she so aptly deserved. During her tenure, Area Conferences were moved from an annual to a biennial schedule in 1973. Due to this transition of Area Conferences from even to odd years, Link Thelma’s tenure ran from 1973 to 1979. Later, while serving in two positions as Vice President and Chapter Establishment Officer, she chartered the Prince George’s County Maryland Chapter at a site in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, accompanied by the co-founder, Link Sarah Scott, and Area Treasurer, Link Thelma Doby. (Link Mary Douglass, former CAO, The Links Headquarters and Charter Member, Prince George’s County Maryland Chapter, March, 2019). The Area theme was “To Serve with Love”, symbolized with a picture of the Black family dressed in African attire. Link Thelma’s first conference was held in Bucks County, Pennsylvania in 1977 and her second conference in 1979 was in Arlington, Virginia.
Link Mignon Bolden Johnson
7th Area Director, Arlington (VA) Chapter
Theme: Excellence through Member Participation
Link Mignon Bolden Johnson was a native of Arlington, Virginia. She was a graduate of Dunbar High School in Washington, DC, and Virginia State College where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Latin. She furthered her education with a Master of Arts degree in Guidance and Counseling from New York University. Her professional career began as a Latin teacher in the Arlington and Fairfax school districts, and, later, at Elliot Junior High School in Washington, DC. She also served as an attendance officer, assistant principal of Evans Junior High School, and principal of Randall Junior High School. She retired from the District of Columbia system in 1973.
Link Mignon was married for fifty-one years to Connecting Link Ernest E. Johnson, and was a past president of the Omega Wives Club. She was a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority for more than fifty years. She attended the Calloway United Methodist Church in Arlington, and was the recipient of many awards and certificates of appreciation for her membership in and service to numerous boards and community organizations in Arlington and Washington, DC.
Link Mignon’s approximately forty-year membership in The Links began as the chartering president of the Arlington, Virginia Chapter in 1966. In 1970, she was the Eastern Area Representative for the 1970 White House Conference. During an interview, Link Mignon believed her major accomplishments were: (1) approving the African Water Wells Project which was conceived and implemented by Link Betty Obiajulu; (2) initiating the office of Sergeant at Arms at Area Conferences, (3) preparing an historical compilation of action profiles of all chapter activities at the Cincinnati Assembly, and (4) initiating the Paragon Award for non-Links who best exemplified and supported any facet of Linkdom. Her first conference was in in 1981 in Niagara Falls, New York, 1981; her second conference held in 1983 was in Norfolk, Virginia. Link Mignon retired to a life of playing bridge, pinochle and scrabble.
Link Rachel Moman Hill
8th Area Director, Delaware Valley (PA) Chapter
Theme: The 3 R’s – Recapturing the Past, Revitalizing the Present, Refocusing for the Future
Link Rachel Moman Hill was from Jackson, Mississippi. She attended Tougaloo College, received a Bachelor’s degree in Home Economics from Cheyney University, and a Masters degree in Education and Early Childhood. She was married to Connecting Link Wansley Hill, and they resided in Yeadon, Pennsylvania.
Link Rachel was a member of several organizations, and served on many boards, such as the Fox Chase Cancer Center and the United Way. She also belonged to the Quettes of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, the Kardettes and the Chit Chatters.
Prior to leading the Area, Link Rachel served as Eastern Area Chair of National Trends and Services and Eastern Area Secretary. As Area Director, she separated the Niagara Falls-Buffalo Chapter into two viable chapters to serve in the upstate New York area and installed James River Valley, Virginia Chapter in May, 1983 and Rochester, New York Chapter in May, 1984. Her Area priorities were membership issues, funds for National Headquarters and program excellence. Her first conference in 1985 was in Ocean City, Maryland and her second conference in 1987 was held in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Link Barbara Dixon Simpkins
10th Area Director, Prince George’s County (MD) Chapter
Theme: Strengthening the Black Family through Friendship, Love and Service” (1993) and “Linkages of Service in Friendship and Love” (1995)
Link Barbara Dixon Simpkins, Ed.D. began her Links experience as the organizer and chartering president of the Prince George’s County Maryland Chapter in 1979.
A native of Pensacola, Florida, she attended Cascadilla College Preparatory School in Ithaca, New York and graduated from Washington High School at age fifteen, with honors. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Florida A & M, a Master of Science degree from Temple University, and an Ed.D. degree from NOVA Southeastern University. She began her career as a vocal music educator in Pensacola, Florida and Washington, DC.
Link Barbara served as Eastern Area Secretary from 1987 to 1991, ascending to the position of Area Director in 1991. In this position, she accompanied a delegation to South Africa to break ground for what led to construction of forty-two Links’ IFESH Schools. She composed the Area Conference theme song; installed three chapters – Jamestown (NY), Old Dominion (VA) and Providence (RI); broke ground in South Africa for LINKS/IFESH schools; and sponsored the South African Links Chapter. Her first conference in 1993 was held in Richmond, Virginia, and her second conference in 1995 was held in East Rutherford (Meadowlands), New Jersey.
Link Barbara served as National Membership Chair and Chapter Establishment Chair, and co-authored the Links’ Signature Program – “Links to Success: Children Achieving Excellence.” She was later appointed National Vice President in August 1995.
Her major accomplishment was becoming the twelfth National President in July 1998. Link Barbara was the mother of two sons, and was a writer, a gourmet cook and a gardener who enjoyed traveling, interior decorating and entertaining friends.