City of Birmingham to host HBCU SpringComing festival

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The New York-based HBCU SpringComing festival is coming to Birmingham. The annual, weeklong fest celebrates the experience of Historically Black Colleges and Universities through events, scholarships, panels, and service activities.

The Department of Innovation and Economic Opportunity is the event’s host.

“I am thrilled to welcome HBCU SpringComing to our city,” said Birmingham Mayor Randall L. Woodfin. “Alabama has the most HBCUs in the country and hosting this amazing event in Birmingham puts the celebration at the center of it all. We will add our southern flair and charm to make this event reminiscent of a true homecoming tailgate experience.”

The Birmingham event is sponsored by Indeed.com and will include an innovation lab, wine and jazz mixer, comedy show, tour of the historic civil rights district and more. The event will take place in concert with the SWAC Baseball Tournament, which is being held at Regions Field, May 25-29.

Events will span the city, taking place at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Railroad Park and the EDPA (Parkside District), Boutwell Auditorium, Birmingham Museum of Art, and George Ward Park. In addition, twenty-five $1,000 book scholarships will be given away to Birmingham Promise students attending HBCUs in the fall.

HBCU SpringComing was founded in 2015 by Lauren Grant Grove and George Peters II. They said their goal is to increase financial contributions towards scholarships supporting HBCU students while celebrating the unique atmosphere that HBCU homecomings create.

“HBCU SpringComing is a spirited collective work and responsibility practiced by alumni from all of our beloved institutions,” said co-founder George Peters, II. “It is our chance to ensure that we protect the sacred spaces that helped us to get to where we are now, well before we knew what we could become. We do that simply by sharing space with each other, reviving our favorite traditions and making new memories as we introduce our families to the celebration of the unique education only possible on Historically Black campuses.”

“As we celebrate eight years of amplifying the HBCU experience, we are elated to expand into the Southern region with the support of the City of Birmingham, Indeed and the United States Tennis Association,” said Lauren Grant Grove, co-founder of HBCU SpringComing and CEO of The Grant Access. “We look forward to paying it forward with our purpose driven events to highlight our rich history, network with Alumni, and create exposure for future students,”

“The mission of the DI&B team at Indeed is to design equitable solutions and experiences for Indeedians, jobseekers and clients to help ALL people get jobs,” said Misty Gaither, Senior Director & Global Head of Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging at Indeed.com. “We are proud to partner with HBCU SpringComing and the City of Birmingham to provide access to employment opportunities to the best and brightest candidates.”

“Birmingham is ready to host this dynamic event,” said IEO Director Cornell Wesley. “This celebration will be a time to show off what makes our city – its residents and businesses – great, as well as a time to pay tribute to our beloved HBCUs.”

Wesley says Springcoming along with the SWAC Baseball Tournament are projected to have a four million dollar economic impact on the city.

Wesley, who grew up in Birmingham, says Springcoming is also a platform for high school students to learn about HBCUs.

“I wouldn’t have gone to Morehouse, had I not seen Morehouse (College Glee Club) perform at 16th Street Baptist church, says Wesley. “So that illustration is what prompted me to, to even research the institution. And so this is an opportunity for us to introduce FAMU, Dillard, Xavier Hampton, Morehouse Howard, and all and of course, Alabama A&M Alabama State, Miles College to students who otherwise wouldn’t have any exposure.”

For additional information and to register for the Birmingham festival, visit www.hbcuspringcoming.com

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Steve Crocker

Steve Crocker

Steve Crocker co-anchors the 6 and 9pm newscasts at WBRC FOX6 News.