‘He’s Just Another Kid, Charlie Brown!’ Happy National Franklin Day!
Forty-seven years ago, “Peanuts” creator Charles M. Schulz made a radical move by introducing the world to the first African-American character to be seen in a comic strip.
He called the character Franklin, making him one of Charlie Brown's best friends. “Franklin is thoughtful and can quote the Old Testament as effectively as Linus. In contrast with the other characters, Franklin has the fewest anxieties and obsessions.”
Before the birth of Franklin, Harriet Glickman, a Californian teacher, reached out to Schulz, suggesting he take a racial stance in his comic strip.
Harriet joked, “I often like to say that Franklin is my third child.”
Initially, Schulz showed some hesitation in making such a bold statement with a controversial character, but his mind was changed by another letter.
A mother of two wrote, “The inclusion of an [African-American] character even occasionally in your comics would help these young people to feel it is a natural thing for children [Caucasian and African-American] to engage in dialogue.”
Beginning on July 31, 1968, Franklin entered the “Peanuts” family and became a central character appearing in the strips, TV specials and movies.
Don't miss seeing the newest “Peanuts” film, in theaters November 6, 2015.