Port City Chapter History

The Metropolitan Women’s League was founded in 1985 in Houston, TX, by Hildred Moorehead Webb. The purpose for its founding was to establish a group of 20 women, committed to both friendship and service. In a collaborative frame of mind, these women determined that combining their efforts, skills, and talents would result in a positive and valuable difference being made in enhancing the quality of life for African Americans in the sprawling metropolitan city of Houston. During the two years of service to their community, The Metropolitan Women’s League initiated their community pursuance of national affiliation with The Links, Incorporated. Approaching their installation into "Linkdom,” this group invited six talented women to join them in service. Therefore, 26 ladies became charter members of the Port City Chapter, on May 16, 1987. The new chapter was chartered with the following officers: Hildred M. Webb, President; Miriam Coleman, Vice President; Diana Ramsey, Recording Secretary; Annette Bracey, Assistant Recording Secretary; Linda Mabrie, Corresponding Secretary; Barbara Hanson, Financial Secretary; Anne Miles McBride, Treasurer; Janice Griffin, Parliamentarian; Toni Whitaker, Archivist; and, Vanya Gamble, Chaplain.

Continuing in the tradition of our founding members, the Port City Chapter has consistently focused many of its programs upon specific target groups, including families, women, the elderly, and our youth. Participating in programs at Shape Community Center; Golden Age Hobby House; The Blue-Triangle YWCA; Frost Elementary School; Ensemble Theater; Da Camera of Houston; and, South Central Little League. Port City has consistently served the needs of those residing in the greater Houston and surrounding areas.

As a Facet, "The Arts,” have remained a strong focus of the chapter. We are proud that our umbrella program for 1995-1996, showcased "The Art of John Biggers: View from the Uppper Room,” exhibition. The exhibition was organized by The Museum of Fine Art by Houston, and Hampton University. Port City Link Aliva Wardlaw was the curator of this event. In 2003, Port City presented, "V-Day Until the Violence Stops,” in conjunction with the South Texas Cluster to a sell-out audience at the Ensemble Theater. We also worked with Da Camera of Houston to present to an enthusiastic home-town audience, renowned jazz piano artist, Jason Moran—a MacArthur Foundation Genius Award recipient; and, nephew of Link Susan Wickliff. We have also joined other chapters in the Houston Cluster in presenting the annual Art Crawl.

For many years, the chapter’s signature project was its annual oratorical contest for Houston youth. We had the honor to share this talented group of students with our Link sisters at the 30th National Assembly in New Orleans, LA. For six years, Port City has hosted a Science, Health and Education Fair in conjunction with the South Central Little League opening day ceremony at Sunnyside Park. The focus of the 2011 Fair was, "The Prevention of Childhood Obesity—Fitness and Nutrition.” Over 40 exhibitors participated and more than 200 people attended.

Port City Chapter collected clothes and other essential items for the Hurricane Katrina evacuees, who relocated to Houston. Port City has conducted workshops in computer skills and interview techniques to women who were abused or had chemical abuse issues; helpful skills to assist with entering into the workplace. Each woman also left these workshops with an outfit through the chapter’s partnership with "Dress for Success.” For several years, Port City Chapter sponsored the "Kids Block,” at the International Festival in downtown Houston.

In 1999, Port City hosted the Texas Cluster, held at the Westin Galleria Hotel. Link Mattelia B. Grays served as the General Chairman. Texas-sized fun was shared by all!

The chapter sponsors an annual spring fundraiser with themes such as: Tea Dance, Texas Oil Boom, Monte Carlo Magic, and Mother’s Day Style Show and Luncheon.

In 1987, a group of capable and civic-minded women assembled to enhance and enrich the lives of those living in the African-American communities in Houston, TX. Twenty-four years later, Port City continues to strive in the tradition of sisterly friendship through our programs and service to advance the quality of life for those in our area. Past chapter presidents have presided in the following order: Hildred Webb, Diane Peavy, Joy Fitzgerald, Gloria Coleman, Betty Sanders, Byronne’ Hearn, and Ursula Hall. Presently, there are six Port City Alumnae members: Gloria Avery, Gloria Coleman, Mattelia B. Grays, Joyce Moss-Clay, Patricia Pearsall Sewing, and Lillian Wood.

In 2011, the members of Port City Chapter attended in large numbers at the 40th Western Area Conference in Scottsdale, AZ. Our tradition of being connected through friendship and service continues, "And This We Promise!”
Charter Members
Link Sandra Ashmore    Link Barbara Hanson
Link Gloria Avery    Link Betty James
Link Bernice Bacon    Link Bettie Jenkins
Link Joy Bodie    Link Linda Mabrie
Link Annette Bracey    Link Anne Miles McBride
Link Gloria Coleman    Link Patricia Pearsall Sewing
Link Miriam Coleman    Link Olga Pierre
Link Joy Fitzgerald    Link Portia Poindexter
Link Vanya Gamble    Link Diana Ramsey
Link Betty Sanders Goldsberry    Link Valeria Spearman
Link Mattelia B. Grays    Link Virginia Wardlaw
Link Janice Griffin    Link Hildred Webb
Link Carolyn Hall    Link Toni Whitaker
Over the past years, Port City has demonstrated its commitments to education by awarding scholarships to high school seniors, mentoring students at elementary schools, and donating library books to Ben Taub Hospital, Katrina Disaster Relief efforts and numerous other entities. The chapter’s arts program includes sponsoring touring performances by the Ensemble Theater to local middle schools, oratorical and art contests. In general, our projects support local, national and international programs that focus on improving the health and wellness of citizens of all ages.  The Port City Links Chapter, Houston, Texas.

The Links, Incorporated History

In 1946, in the wake of World War II, Philadelphia matrons Margaret Roselle Hawkins and Sarah Strickland Scott called together seven friends in hopes of starting a new type of organization, a chain of women’s clubs composed of friends along the Eastern seaboard who would respond to the needs and aspirations of Black women. There were other groups in existence, but the two women envisioned a service-oriented organization that would have a three-fold purpose—to promote civic, educational and cultural concerns—and to lead Black women into postwar America. The original nine members were Frances Atkinson, Katie Green, Margaret Hawkins, Marion Minton, Myrtle Manigault, Sarah Scott, Lillian Stanford, Lillian Wall, and Dorothy Wright. That founding meeting on November 9, 1946 launched what is now The Links, Incorporated, an international women’s service organization that is among the most prestigious associations of Black women in the world. From that modest first meeting of nine women, the organization born in the wake of World War II has expanded and refined its mission and membership, endured social and racial upheavals, and today has a membership of over 10,000 women of African descent in more than 300 chapters located in the United States, the Bahamas, Germany and South Africa. Thus, the Links became a national organization when 40 members, representing 14 clubs, convened the first national assembly in Philadelphia. The organization was, subsequently, incorporated on March 29, 1951.
The members of The Links, Incorporated are physicians, dentists, judges, attorneys, engineers, educators, entrepreneurs, elected officials, non-profit executives, authors, corporate executives and homemakers. They use their considerable resources to improve the quality of life for others.