Dubbed “the Godmother of DC Housing Cooperatives” Linda Leaks’ organizing of tenants for housing justice and housing cooperatives is legendary in the DC community. Leaks often worked seven days a week, on an organizer’s pay.
When Leaks moved to DC in 1978, gentrification was in brutal full force, which presented conditions that were a great match for Leaks’ expertise and 10 years of experience as a community organizer in Florida. She enrolled at the University of the District of Columbia, and later earned her master’s degree in community economic development from Southern New Hampshire University.
In 1982, Leaks led the founding of a collective house in Northwest DC with three other black women. Known as the “T Street Collective,” it became a hub of black feminist organizing in a depressed neighborhood still dotted with boarded up buildings and with hardly any businesses.