Early in the 1980s, Beatrice Butler Mosley, a solidly established mogul in the field of education, recognized that she was singularly one of a small cadre of similarly skilled women. Her decision was to unite this group as the nucleus of an organization fervently committed to improve the interrelated circumstances that affect lives. They envisioned committing themselves to noteworthy educational, cultural and civic projects that would positively impact the Black family as well as the global society. Within a span of two years, the group had increased to a total of twenty-three women.
The group initiated a series of efforts to ensure the success of their intent. In December of 1985, a request to organize an “interest group” was made to the National Office of The Links, Incorporated. Upon receipt of pertinent information regarding the process from Jacqueline J. Robinson, The Chapter Establishment Officer, the group executed the process procedures resulting in the formal submission of their application in February of 1986. Subsequently, approval was granted to organize the Capital Metropolitan Interest Group in June of 1986.
The group completed the arduous process of defining an Umbrella Approach with all program activities focusing on the four facets of The Links, Incorporated. Rowan and Blackburn Junior High Schools were selected as the group’s project; however, Rowan Junior High School was eventually made the focal school for the project. The working year ended in June of 1987.
Jacqueline J. Robinson, Chapter Establishment Officer, made a site visit in November of 1987. Following her evaluation of the project, the Interest Group was approved to function during the ensuring year as the LeFleur’s Bluff Chapter-Elect.
The weekend of March 4-5 was a pivotal time for the members of the LeFleur’s Bluff Chapter-Elect as they made readiness for their formal installation ceremonies. On Saturday, March 5, 1988, the LeFleur’s Bluff Chapter received its charter as the 225th chapter in thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia.
Installation ceremonies were held as the twenty-three members became a full-fledged members of the Links, Incorporated. Executive officers participating in the induction ceremonies were: Regina Jollivette Frazier, National President; Dolores Albury, National Recording Secretary; Jacqueline J. Robinson, Chapter Establishment Officer; Ernestine Sapp, National Parliamentarian; and Barbara S. Moore, Southern Area Director. Carolyn C. Washington, Immediate Past Southern Area Director, was in attendance and rendered valuable assistance in preparation for the ceremony. Sharing the occasion were Links from three Mississippi Chapters and representatives from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, and North Carolina.
Following the chartering ceremony, were a number of culminating activities. These activities were highlighted by a reception at the University Club, an elaborate luncheon honoring the members of the LeFleur’s Bluff Chapter and a banquet. Other events concluding the chapter’s “Evening of Emerald Elegance” included attendance at the Ebony Fashion Show and a concert featuring Lionel Hampton.
The entire weekend was one of historical significance for the City of Jackson; for the members of the LeFleur’s Bluff Chapter, it was a weekend of beauty and elegance.
In the late 1980s, LeFleur’s Bluff Chapter members continued their efforts to positively impact the lives of students at Rowan Middle School. The ARMSGAD (At Risk Middle School Girls of African Descent) program focused on academic support, primarily one on one tutoring after school. Not all the work was in the classroom. In an effort to support the arts, the YAATS program showcased students with artistic talents and encouraged them through providing performance opportunities and recognition.
During the 1990s, service further expanded into the community. Monthly programs were held for students which featured each of the individual facets of Linkdom: Services to Youth, National Trends and Services, International Trends and Services and the Arts. These programs included, but were not limited to: career awareness, health and dental screenings, walkathons, art projects, reading fairs, and academic support. Students at Rowan took field trips to see a holiday play each year. We also reached overseas by partnering with other Mississippi chapters of the Links through the Education Across the Miles Signature Program and sponsoring a schoolhouse in South Africa. School supplies for African students as well as black dolls for young girls were also sent overseas as part of our global outreach.
These domestic and international efforts were honored by the Southern Area of The Links, Incorporated in 1999 when the LeFleur’s Bluff Chapter won the First Place Award for its Umbrella or overall community service program. The Chapter also won First Place in 1999 for its exhibit presenting the program which included a display and video highlighting the efforts. In 2001, the Chapter won another Umbrella award, this time 2nd place, in recognition of its programs because they evidenced sustainability and a significant community impact. Students were also honored by receiving certificates of award and savings bonds when their academic achievement placed them within the top ten students at their school.
Into the Millenium, programs have included health screenings for students as well as town hall meetings in the community to discuss heart health, HIV/AIDS, and organ and tissue donation. An important aspect of student health has been the promotion of healthy living through diet and exercise. Nutritionists, meetings with cafeteria staff, and the distribution of healthy snacks were cornerstones of that initiative. Exercise was promoted through fitness routines, walking, a tennis workshop, and Zumba class. Members partnered with the Jackson Chapter of the Links to implement a childhood obesity prevention program at the Mid-Town Community Center which is near Rowan Middle School.
Still, academics remain our key effort. In an effort to improve literacy, students were given summer reading books at year end and assisted with reading comprehension and assignments in the fall of each year. Students were also given the opportunity to participate in the Jackson State University International Fair. They divided into groups and chose countries for study. Representatives from JSU came to the school to share their personal experiences and give deeper insight to the assignment. At the Fair, students displayed what they learned about the country and its culture, even dressing in native costume. One group won the First Place prize. For those students with the most basic needs, uniforms are purchased along with book bags and supplies. Our effort to promote college education and assist those in school is proven by our growing endowed scholarship at Jackson State University on the name of our Chapter Organizer, Beatrice Mosley, and an annual United Negro College Fund contribution to help students at Tougaloo and Rust Colleges.
In 2011, the Chapter was honored again for its work through a 3rd Place Award and monetary stipend which was used to purchase more books for the students at Rowan Middle School. Over the past 25 years, members have aimed to pool their time, talent and treasure to positively impact those in need both here and abroad, living out our tenets of friendship and service.