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A Dream, America, and Beautiful: Memphis Black Santa Brings Joy To Across The South People @balleralert Memphis Black Santa Brings Joy To People Across The South - Blogged by @tktrinidad ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Raymond Conley, 65, has been the resident black Santa for the past eight years at Southland Mall and people have been traveling to Memphis to see him. "Not to be funny, but they want to see a black Santa. They come from Texas, St. Louis, Atlanta. They want their kids to see a black Santa," Conley said. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ About 63% of the Memphis’ population is black, according to the U.S. Census and it’s pretty cool to see a Santa that is relatable to the population. The general manager Michael Rixter, of the Southland Mall, agrees, "we have at least 10 calls a day from people asking if we have Santa here.The second question they ask is, 'Is he black?” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ There has been black Santa’s across America since the 1940’s. The Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn got its first black Santa in 2016 for four days, which expanded to nine days this year. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Believe it or not, before Conley donned on the Santa suit, Rev. Larry Lee Love Sr., 66 was the first black Santa in 1997, "Me and my wife were mall walkers. And they were putting up decorations, and advertising Santa, and we kept passing that big, beautiful red-and-white Santa chair with that white Santa, and every time we passed it, seemed like something would come over me." Love said. Back then, Love just worked for the mall, but these days everything is a business including being Santa. Conley works for Cherry Hill Photo Enterprises Inc which puts together the whole Santa experience. The company makes profits off of photo packages and sends Conley two spanking new suits every week. Conley is the only black Santa on their roster, local manager for Cherry Hill, Lyntia Howard, says,” We have a lot of people who come looking for him.” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Conley and Love hope to continue being Santa for a very long time and Love has a dream on top of bringing joy to kids,"My only aspiration right now is to be the first black Santa to go to Washington, D.C., and light that 50-foot tall Alberta spruce tree( the National Tree by the White House)" he said.

Memphis Black Santa Brings Joy To People Across The South - Blogged by @tktrinidad ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Raymond Conley, 65, has been the reside...