Black Quotidian: Everyday History in African-American Newspapers

December 22, 1978

On December 22, 1978, the Pittsburgh Courier featured a profile of Don Williams, an African-American man who played Santa Claus at the East Hills Shopping Center. “Every time I can recall I sat on a Santa Claus’ knee, it was a white Santa Claus,” Williams said. “So it really shouldn’t make a difference.”

Among the other interesting results I found when searching for “Black Santa Claus,” “Colored Santa Claus,” and “Negro Santa Claus” were this photo of Chicago’s “only Negro Santa Claus” from the Chicago Defender (December 14, 1946) and this article from the Cleveland Call and Post (December 20, 1969) regarding the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s (SCLC) efforts to get a black Santa in Cincinnati. The Cincinnati protest was also covered in the Los Angeles Sentinel (December 18, 1969) where SCLC regional director Rev. Otis Moss Jr. was quoted: “If a department store cannot conceive of a black man as a Santa Claus for 30 days, it most assuredly cannot conceive of his being President or Vice President for 365 days.”

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