Why Hyattsville’s Santa Draws Visitors From Afar

Every mall has a Santa around Christmastime, but Hyattsville’s has some people willing to drive from several states away.

As one of only two malls in the D.C. area with a black Santa and one of only a few nationally, the Mall at Prince Georges has had customers come from as far as New Jersey.

According to this comprehensive map by News One, the next nearest black Santas are in Baltimore; Hampton, Virginia; and New York City.

The Mall at Prince Georges even got national publicity recently in the New York Times for it.

“I had my picture taken with a black Santa as a child, and I wanted my son to do the same,” customer Candace Lai-Fang told the Times.

The first working black Santa in the United States came in Pittsburgh in 1915 as part of a charity event, but the real breakthrough was when legendary tap dancer Bill “Bojangles” Robinson appeared in costume in 1936.

Some department stores began hiring black Santas in the 1940s, and by the 1960s they became symbolic fights in some areas for the civil rights movement. The Mall of America made national news when it hired its first black Santa in 2016.

The Mall at Prince George’s has had a black Santa every year for at least a decade.

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1 Response to Why Hyattsville’s Santa Draws Visitors From Afar

  1. The post has been updated to include a Santa in Baltimore.

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