As he walked through the crowd of hundreds of bearded, plump, and jolly white men, Larry Jefferson, a professional Santa Claus, stood out.
It was July, at the annual Santa Claus convention in Branson, Mo., which draws more than 800 Santa Clauses and Mrs. Clauses from across the country.
To Jefferson, of Irving, Texas, the Santas at the convention were just like him – his “brothers in the red suits.” But unlike nearly all of others, and contrary to most classic American images of St. Nick, Jefferson is black.
Unbeknownst to him at first, there was a Santa recruiter at the convention looking for someone just like him. A Santa by the name of Sid went to the convention on a mission: find a Santa of color. The organizers of the Santa Experience, which offers photo sessions with Santa in the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., during the holiday season, were hoping …