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Dolly Desselle Adams

The Links, Incorporated / Dolly Desselle Adams

Dolly Desselle Adams

8th National President

Link Dolly Desselle Adams, Eighth President of Links, was born in Marksville, Louisiana. She grew up in New Orleans and graduated from Xavier Preparatory High School there. Link Adams holds the Bachelor of Arts degree, Magna Cum Laude from Southern University in Baton Rouge and the Masters of Arts degree from the University of Michigan. She earned the Ed.D. from Baylor University in Waco, Texas and has continued post-doctoral study at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois and the University of Washington in Seattle. Her academic areas, Administration and Supervision of Educational Institutions, helped establish the foundation of her life as an educator civic leader churchwoman, wife and mother.

In her professional life, she has been a teacher and/or an administrator at each level of schooling from pre-school Head Start through professional school. She has held faculty positions at eight different colleges and universities including the Neuro-Psychiatric Institute of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor; Wilberforce University, Wilberforce, Ohio; Albany Georgia State College; Paul Quinn College Waco, Texas; Howard University School of Law; Washington, D.C.; and the Interdenominational Theological Seminary, Atlanta, Georgia.

While teaching at Wilberforce University, Link Adams met and married John Hurst Adams, then a faculty member at nearby Payne Theological Seminary. Connecting Link Adams is a Bishop of the A.M.E. Church and is the Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the Congress of National Black Churches, Inc. As the wife of the Bishop, Link Adams is the Missionary Supervisor of hundreds of groups of women in the Episcopal District to which the Bishop is assigned. Through the years, as the couple moved from the Tenth District, Texas to the Second, Mid-Atlantic States and the District of Columbia, and to the Sixth, Georgia, the two have formed a trained, spiritually-oriented working team which has made an indelible imprint on American life wherever they have lived. To the care of family, church responsibility and full time employment, Adams added community service and organizational involvement.

Her community volunteer services seem rooted in her concerns for children and young people–service as a member of the board of Children’s Protective Services, and the Family Counseling and Children’s Services of McLennan County, Texas; Waco (Texas) Neighborhood Youth Center; Secretary of the National Sickle Cell Disease Research Foundation of Los Angeles; Seattle Planned Parenthood and Friends of the Children’s Defense Fund Committee are some of her affiliations.

She has served as Newsletter Editor for Church Women United; as Consultant and Speaker for The World Federation of Methodist Women; and as a member of the Board of Directors, UNCF. For six years, she chaired the UNCF Telethon in Waco; for two years, she was Telethon Chair in Washington, and was UNCF Volunteer of the Year in 1978. She affiliated with the Washington Women’s Forum, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and American Association of University Women. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and Phi Delta Kappa and Alpha Kappa Mu Honor Societies.

She was cited by Ebony Magazine as one of the most influential Black Americans from 1982-86; was elected by Dollars and Sense Magazine as one of America’s top Business and Professional Women of 1986. Her outstanding participation in civic life continued as she was elected President of the Black Women’s Agenda in 1988. She is a member of the Advisory Boards of WHMM-TV in Washington, D.C. and the African-American Institute in New York City.

Link Adams was inducted into the Seattle (WA) Chapter and affiliated with the Angel City (LA) Chapter. When she moved to Waco, Texas where there was no chapter, she helped establish the Waco (TX) Chapter. She was the Western Area’s Director of International Trends and Services and became National Director of this program facet under President Purnell. During this period of service, she established the relationship between The Links and Africare, which resulted in the furnishing of The Links’ room at the Africare House in Washington, D.C, and in the digging of numerous water wells all over the African continent.

While living in the Eastern Area, she joined the Arlington (VA) Chapter. On this rich background of service and experience, she was elected to the national presidency of The Links, Incorporated.

In her role as president, she presented the final payment on the pledge of one million dollars to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), the largest contribution to UNCF by any Black organization. In 1985, she led the largest delegation attending the end of the Women’s Decade in Nairobi Kenya–a group of over 140 internationally known African-Americans. Adams secured funding for and organized Black Women’s Consultation–a coalition of the fifteen largest groups of African-American women in America. It met four times–Consultation I, II, III, and IV. However, in the annals of The Links, Incorporate, this President shines as the one who led the group in the purchasing, renovation, furnishing and equipping of the National Headquarters at 1200 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W. in Washington and establishment of The Links Foundation, Incorporated. Through her boundless energy and her skillful leadership, the members rallied to pay for the building in full, and to fund an endowment to protect its future.

President Adams and her Connecting Link Bishop John Adams, are the parents of three successful and talented daughters: Link Gaye Adams-Massey, Esquire, Dr. Jann H. Adams and Link Madelyn R. Adams. They are the proud grandparents of eight grandchildren, six boys and two girls.

In 1984, Link daughter Gaye in introducing her Mother said:

“Throughout her career as educator, administrator, community activist, missionary supervisor and mother extraordinaire, Dr. Adams has always committed herself to doing and being her best. She brings to any task given her the traits which characterize her and account for her success. Among her traits are creativity, faith, intelligence, concern, determination, thoughtfulness, self-confidence self-direction, generosity, patience, vibrancy and style”. (Minutes, 1984 Assembly pp. 4,5) Thousands of Links share Link Gaye’s opinion.



National President