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The Divine Nine: First-ever Alabama Greek Picnic celebrated in Birmingham

Members of Alpha Kappa Alpha and Delta Sigma Theta take a group picture in Linn Park. (bhamnow.com Photo/ Via Keys Tha Shooter)
By Cody Short

The inaugural Alabama Greek Picnic (ALGP) was held last week in Birmingham and drew members of the National Pan-Hellenic Council to celebrate unity, give to the community, and fellowship with one another.

The National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) is a collaborative organization of nine historically African American, international Greek lettered fraternities and sororities, also known as the Divine Nine: Alpha Phi Alpha, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Omega Psi Phi, Delta Sigma Theta, Kappa Alpha Psi, Sigma Gamma Rho, Zeta Phi Beta, Phi Beta Sigma, and Iota Phi Theta.

Historically, members of NPHC all across the Southeast would convene in Atlanta for the biggest Greek picnic held in the region; however area residents Shumaine and TaMarcus Pruitt decided that Alabama should hold its own Greek picnic.

TaMarcus and his wife, Shumaine, own Shop the Kloset, a Greek paraphernalia store, and they would travel to other Greek picnics to sell merchandise.

Shumaine said, “We would always meet other Greeks from Alabama, and we just thought it made sense to host our own picnic in the state.”

About six months ago the Pruitts and a team that included David Powell, Kris Campbell, VeVe Smith and Richard Hudson started looking for sponsors to help plan the picnic.

“We have a beautiful city right in front of us, so why go anywhere else?,” Shumaine said.

In making plans, organizers decided that they wanted the event to have the feel of a family reunion. Instead of just hanging out in the park and ending the day with step shows, the entire weekend included events and giving back to the community.

Friday was the day to socialize at the Magnolia House. Saturday morning a community service event was held in Linn Park to collect essentials for the homeless and supplies for students. Central Park Christian School will be receiving the school supplies. The community service event transitioned into the main event, the Greek Picnic. Sunday morning included a church service with Rock City Church, followed by a day party at Sleek.

Similarl to the Atlanta Greek Picnic, the Alabama Greek Picnic will continue to be held during the summer.

Shumaine said, “We wanted to make sure it was done during the summer, but before football season started, and not when other Greek picnics were happening.”

More than 700 people participated in the activities. Shumaine hopes to continue to increase that number over time, and make it ones of the largest Greek picnics in the nation.

“Next year we want to target a different demographic,” Shumaine said. “We want to have members of Greek organizations that are 40 years old and up.”

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