How Franklin Came to Be

In Los Angeles 1968, a woman named Harriet Glickman wrote a series of letters to Charles Schultz over the span of three months. These letters surrounded the topic of including an African American character to the popular Peanuts comic strip. Schultz expresses his worries about including an African American character due to the current tension, since Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated during this time. Eventually on July 31, 1968 Franklin the first African American character was added to the Peanuts and would soon be a regular character. Schultz received an abundance of positive feedback. However, he received comments from people stating they did not wish to see Franklin and the rest of the Peanuts gang going to school together.

I believe this was the best thing to happen because as kids we grow up leaving from the things we see. Back in 1968 the Peanuts was the latest show, which was about a white kid named Charlie Brown who can never do anything right. Before Franklin was inputted the show consisted of nothing but white children. The children who saw this show would see this and in their mind believe this to be true, that in the real world there were nothing but white people all over. Glickman asked Schultz to create a new character so that children wouldn’t have this sort of mentality. The children of their era would see not only white kids but also an African American child getting along together without a problem. Some people didn’t mind the characters bring friends but what they didn’t want to see was an African American child going to school with white children because they just don’t want that. Schultz adding Franklin to the skit and putting him in the school with the other white kids benefited everyone in the long run. It benefited the children who, in years later to come, would go to school with an African American kid like it was normal.

The Peanuts is a political comic strip. It is very influential not only to children but adults as well. Since the Peanuts came out in the Sunday paper many adults would read it. It was mainly the adults that Schultz feared when creating Franklin because he didn’t know how they would react. He didn’t want his popular comic strip to go down the drain. Glickman told Schultz she would speak to some of her friends and ask how they felt on the matter and to Schultz surprise their response wasn’t what he expected. They believed it would be the best thing. Especially since MLK had just been assassinated adding Franklin into the mix would be beneficial to all parties. The other adults didn’t mind because a new character would be nice something new to see.

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