Mall of America welcomed its first black Santa


For the first time in its 24-year history, the Mall of America in Minnesota had a black Santa Claus.

WCCO reports that Dallas resident Larry Jefferson was attending a Santa Convention over the summer when he was recruited for a four-day stint at the shopping complex.

The man who spearheaded the search to find the black Santa, Landon Luther, helps to oversee the mall's annual holiday photo event, notes the Star Tribune.

Luther says he wanted to add diversity to the lineup for those kids who are also from other backgrounds, stating, "This is a long time coming. We want Santa to be for everyone, period."

Jefferson, who is known during the holidays as "Santa Larry," believes his 17-years of donning the red suit is "a calling."

He has also been motivated to continue his work because of a lack of racially diverse Santas, notes the Washington Post.

Jefferson says that at a recent event, after a child pointed out that he was brown, he simply responded, "Yes, I am, but Santa comes in many different colors."