Three years ago, I posted about a quest to find a Black Santa Claus in our area. This year, not only did we find one, we went to visit him at the Newsome House in Newport News. The Newsome House is a historic landmark and a living museum where patrons can learn about the civic and social work of Thomas Newsome, a prominent African American lawyer at the turn of the 20th century.
I have to admit, I was pretty excited that I had the foresight to look into this Black Santa, or should I say, “The Soulful Christmas”, as it was billed on the event website. I told two of my other girlfriends about it and we planned to meet up with our kiddos in tow. I didn’t know what to expect much beyond having them see Santa and maybe taking a brief walk through the house itself to learn about its significance to Black culture and to the city of Newport News.
I will say, though, there is something supremely hypocritical about encouraging your children to totally throw off all of your hard-pressed pleas to “not talk to strangers”, then watch them vault upon a random, red and white clad lap and use a laser pointer to emphasize the salient parts of their Christmas Wish List Power Point.
I think Santa may have agreed to that tattoo set, hence the giant smile on Morgan’s face. As for Coever’s smirk? Well, she always looks like that.
After the kids bombarded Santa Claus with their requests, they each received a free Scholastic book courtesy of the Newport News Public Library. Then, we were told that there was going to be a puppet show performed off of the foyer within the half hour. We were welcome to tour the house while we waited.
Our kindly docent took us upstairs where we viewed a series of family quilts created by members of the African American Quilters Guild. In the adjoining room there was an extensive exhibit about Thomas Newsome and his family. The docent very patiently explained to us who Thomas Newsome was and what he had meant to the community. Then, she asked if there were any questions. Let’s just Morgan had that woman drawing upon every fact, however small, to flesh out the purpose and significance of the Newsome house for her 5 year old satisfaction.