Skip to main content

How the Peanuts Comic Strip Got Its First Black Character

Ron is a student of African American history. His writing highlights the stories of people who overcame prejudice to achieve great things.

Franklin, the first black Peanuts character

Franklin, the first black Peanuts character

A Suburban Schoolteacher Tries to Improve Race Relations

It was April of 1968, and the United States was in the grip of racial turmoil such as it had seldom seen before. On April 4, Dr. Martin Luther King was shot as he stood on the balcony of a motel in Memphis, Tennessee. In response, riots had broken out in more than a hundred American cities. The outlook for racial harmony in the country looked bleak.

But some important positive events were taking place that month as well. On April 11, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1968, which made housing discrimination based on race unlawful. And on April 15, a white Los Angeles schoolteacher, the mother of three, sat down to write a letter to a cartoonist.

That schoolteacher, Harriet Glickman, was disturbed by the racial upheaval that was shaking the country, and wanted to do something about “the vast sea of misunderstanding, fear, hate and violence” that caused it. She believed that at a time when whites and blacks looked distrustfully at one another from across a wide racial divide, anything that could help narrow that gap could provide an immensely positive service to the nation.

So she wrote a letter to Charles M. Schulz, author of the Peanuts comic strip. Syndicated in hundreds of newspapers around the country, Peanuts was the most popular and influential newspaper comic strip in history, read by millions of people every day. The outlook of many of those millions was inevitably influenced by their daily vicarious excursions into the world of Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus, Peppermint Patty, and the rest of the Peanuts gang. But since the inception of the strip in 1950, that world had been exclusively white.

Harriet Glickman thought that needed to change. She was convinced that with the cultural clout enjoyed by the Peanuts strip, if it portrayed white and black kids interacting amicably together, that would set a positive tone that could help reshape the perceptions of whites and blacks toward one another in the real world. In a letter that is now displayed in an exhibit at the Charles Schulz museum, she said:

It occurred to me today that the introduction of Negro children into the group of Schulz characters could happen with a minimum of impact. The gentleness of the kids…even Lucy, is a perfect setting…

I’m sure one doesn’t make radical changes in so important an institution without a lot of shock waves from syndicates, clients, etc. You have, however, a stature and reputation which can withstand a great deal.

"Peanuts" creator Charles Schulz in 1956

"Peanuts" creator Charles Schulz in 1956

Charles Schulz Responds Sympathetically but Negatively to the Idea of Adding a Black Character to "Peanuts"

Perhaps surprisingly, Charles Schulz replied quickly to Glickman’s request. On April 26, he sent her the following note:

Dear Mrs. Glickman:

Than you very much for your kind letter. I appreciate your suggestion about introducing a Negro child into the comic strip, but I am faced with the same problem that other cartoonists are who wish to comply with your suggestion. We all would like very much to be able to do this, but each of us is afraid that it would look like we were patronizing our Negro friends.

I don’t know what the solution is.

Far from being discouraged by Schulz’s negative reply, Harriet Glickman saw in it a ray of hope. She wrote again to Schulz, asking for permission to show his letter to some of her African American friends and get their reaction. "Their response may prove useful to you in your thinking on this subject," she wrote. Schulz replied:

I will be very anxious to hear what your friends think of my reasons for not including a Negro character in the strip. The more I think of the problem, the more I am convinced that it would be wrong for me to do so. I would be very happy to try, but I am sure that I would receive the sort of criticism that would make it appear as if I were doing this in a condescending manner.

Glickman must have been elated at Schulz’s willingness to at least consider including black characters in his strip. She had also contacted another nationally syndicated cartoonist, Allen Saunders, who wrote the Mary Worth strip. Saunders believed that "it is still impossible to put a Negro in a role of high professional importance and have the reader accept it as valid. And the militant Negro will not accept any member of his race now in any of the more humble roles in which we now regularly show whites. He too would be hostile and try to eliminate our product." Against that background, Schulz’s openness to at least thinking about inserting a black character into his strip must have been refreshing.

A Determined Harriet Glickman Overcomes Schulz's Qualms

Glickman contacted several African American friends, and secured letters that she forwarded to Schulz. One mother of two wrote:

At this time in history, when Negro youths need a feeling of identity; the inclusion of a Negro character even occasionally in your comics would help these young people to feel it is a natural thing for Caucasian and Negro children to engage in dialogue.

True to his word, Schulz thought about what the letter writers had to say, and was reassured. On July 1 he wrote to Glickman to inform her that he had taken “the first step,” and that the strips published during the week of July 29 would have something “I think will please you.”

That week the comic strip featured a story line in which Charlie Brown’s sister Sally had thrown his beach ball into the sea. Then something that was, for the time, radical and ground breaking occurred:


His name was Franklin. And he came into the strip without fanfare, and without any notice or comment concerning his race. He and Charlie Brown struck up a friendship just like any two kids who meet on the beach might do.


It turns out that Franklin lives in a different neighborhood on the other side of town. Interestingly, he goes to the same school as Peppermint Patty, and plays center field on her baseball team. So, he and Charlie Brown find that they have a lot in common. They have such a good time together on the beach that Charlie Brown invites Franklin to come and stay overnight at his house. “We’ll play baseball, and build another sand castle,” Charlie tells him.

Franklin's Advent Causes a Reaction

Although Schulz did everything he could to keep Franklin’s introduction into the strip as low-key as possible, people definitely took notice. Newspapers and magazines featured articles about the new Peanuts kid. Most reactions were positive, but some were decidedly negative.

November 12, 1969
United Feature Syndicate
220 East 42nd Street
New York, N.Y. 10017


In today’s "Peanuts" comic strip Negro and white children are portrayed together in school.

School integration is a sensitive subject here, particularly at this time when our city and county schools are under court order for massive compulsory race mixing.

We would appreciate it if future "Peanuts" strips did not have this type of content.

Thank you.

Schulz said the following in an interview:

I finally put Franklin in, and there was one strip where Charlie Brown and Franklin had been playing on the beach, and Franklin said, "Well, it’s been nice being with you, come on over to my house some time." Again, they didn’t like that. Another editor protested once when Franklin was sitting in the same row of school desks with Peppermint Patty, and said, "We have enough trouble here in the South without you showing the kids together in school." But I never paid any attention to those things.

Some southern newspapers refused to run the strips featuring Franklin, and that made the cartoon's distributor nervous.

Let’s put it this way: Either you print it just the way I draw it or I quit. How’s that?

— Charles Schulz

Schulz recalled a conversation he had with Larry Rutman, president of the United Features syndicate:

I remember telling Larry at the time about Franklin—he wanted me to change it, and we talked about it for a long while on the phone, and I finally sighed and said, "Well, Larry, let’s put it this way: Either you print it just the way I draw it or I quit. How’s that?"

The negative reactions to the new Peanuts kid were ironic because Schulz very deliberately did not focus attention on Franklin’s race. Charlie Brown never seemed to notice that Franklin was black. The only time race was ever mentioned in the strip, as far as I’m aware, was this episode (November 6, 1974) with Peppermint Patty:


Some people took Peppermint Patty’s jibe about the lack of black players in professional hockey as some kind of racist expression. To me it’s just the opposite. Patty feels comfortable expressing a perceived fact of life that she can use in her dispute with Franklin, but it’s not intended as a putdown toward him as a person.

A Different, Cruder Approach

In his handling of race, Schulz was far more subtle (and a lot more sensitive) than, for example, Hank Ketcham, the writer of the Dennis the Menace strip. Ketcham’s May 13, 1970 cartoon, intended, as he said, “to join the parade led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” offered a character deliberately modeled on Little Black Sambo. In that depiction, Ketcham demonstrated an almost unbelievable lack of awareness of how offensive such an image would be to African Americans:

Hank Ketcham's 1970 depiction of a black child in Dennis the Menace

Hank Ketcham's 1970 depiction of a black child in Dennis the Menace

Many newspapers refused to run Ketcham’s cartoon, and some of those that did, like the Cleveland Press, were forced to issue an apology the next day.

As He Feared, Schulz Is Criticized As Being Condescending

Though Franklin was in no sense offensive in the way Ketcham's Sambo image was, Schulz didn’t escape criticism from some African Americans and others. Not because Franklin represented some negative stereotype, but because he was too good.

In contrast with the other characters, Franklin has the fewest anxieties and obsessions.

— Charles Schulz

Schulz understood the tightrope he had to walk because of earlier offensive portrayals of blacks in the media. So he made a deliberate choice not to give Franklin any of the negative traits that plagued the other Peanuts characters. "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," he said.

To some critics, having an African American character who was virtually perfect was patronizing. As Berkeley Professor John H. McWhorter put it, "Schulz meant well. But Franklin was a classic token black."

But Clarence Page, an African American columnist for the Chicago Tribune, was, in my opinion, more perceptive:

Let's face it: His perfection hampered Franklin's character development…

But considering the hyper-sensitivities so many people feel about any matters involving race, I did not blame Schulz for treating Franklin with a light and special touch.

Can you imagine Franklin as, say, a fussbudget like Lucy? Or a thumb-sucking, security-blanket hugger like Linus? Or an idle dancer and dreamer like Snoopy? Or a walking dust storm like Pig Pen? Mercy. Self-declared image police would call for a boycott. If Schulz's instincts told him his audience was not ready for a black child with the same complications his other characters endured, he probably was right.

From a character perspective, Franklin is the best of the Peanuts troop. He is the only one who never criticizes or mocks Charlie Brown. And when he finds Peppermint Patty crying because she's being required to stop wearing her beloved sandals at school, Franklin’s sympathetic reaction is, "All I know is any rule that makes a little girl cry has to be a bad rule." As one observer put it, "Franklin proved to be wise and dignified and has never done anything he should have to apologize for." I think he can be forgiven for those faults.

The Addition of Franklin to the "Peanuts" Family Made a Difference

Franklin was a recurring member of the Peanuts cast of characters for three decades. He would appear in a storyline, then not be seen for a while. His last appearance in the strip was in 1999, the year before Schulz died and the strip ended (it's still going strong in reruns). Even though he wasn't seen every day, Franklin, by his very presence, made, and continues to make, a real difference in the world.

One young man on whom Franklin had a lasting impact was Robb Armstrong, creator of JumpStart, the most widely syndicated daily comic strip by an African American in the world. Franklin's inclusion among the Peanuts crew inspired Armstrong to himself become a cartoonist. He and Schulz became close friends, and when Schulz, preparing to release a Peanuts video, realized that Franklin needed a last name, he asked Robb Armstrong for permission to use his.

In newspapers, films, and animated specials on television, Franklin made an undeniable mark as a valued and beloved member of the Peanuts family. And just as Harriet Glickman hoped, by simply being there, one of the gang, no different from the others, he helped blacks and whites see one another with different eyes.

© 2015 Ronald E Franklin


John Angel on October 26, 2019:

I like the. Peanuts gang. To. They are part of my families holiday tradition every year.

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on June 18, 2019:

Thanks, Paula. I think you put it very well - Franklin fits right into the Peanuts gang and makes them all more fun and interesting.

Suzie from Carson City on June 16, 2019:

Ron...I have always loved the Peanuts Comic strip. All the characters

are fascinating little cuties. Thank you so much for explaining the story behind "Franklin" He's a very special character and makes the whole gang all the more fun and interesting. Peace, Paula

DENNIS DE ROSE on November 25, 2018:

It's hard to believe that some people still believe Schultz was a racist. As seen here, and clearly, he was just the opposite. Thank you for your honest portrayal of a great man and an even better cartoon, one that we all love and cherish.

Alexander James Guckenberger from Maryland, United States of America on December 26, 2017:

I really like Schulz now. Thanks for that Ronald. :)

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on December 26, 2017:

Thanks, Alexander. Once Schulz decided to include Franklin, he had the integrity to stick by that decision regardless of pressure.

Alexander James Guckenberger from Maryland, United States of America on December 26, 2017:

This is so interesting! I really enjoyed Charles' quote too.

Deepali on May 10, 2017:

Such a wonderful article ... I read reruns of Peanut every day and to read in so much detail about how Franklin was created, was a wonderful experience. Loved the content immensely and your style of putting it across. Thank you

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on February 23, 2017:

Thanks, gerimcclym. I think you're right that once Franklin was introduced to the strip, there was no way Schultz could have avoided being criticized. So, it took courage to add Franklin knowing there would be blowback. I admire Schultz for displaying that courage.

Geri McClymont on January 16, 2017:

What an interesting history of how Franklin came to be the first black Peanuts character. It seems that Schulz would have received criticism regardless of how he portrayed Franklin, but I think Schulz was wise in following his instincts in how he portrayed him. Thanks for a very enlightening article.

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on November 11, 2016:

Deborah, you and your family seem to be dedicated Peanuts fans. Schultz did have to defend Franklin against some people who didn't want him mingling with white kids in school and in the neighborhood. I, too, say a thank you to Charles Schultz. Thanks for sharing.

Deborah Phillips on November 11, 2016:

All of my family's holidays are Peanuts themed! I was raised in the 70's and 80's, and I looked forward to all of the Peanuts specials. It was awesome seeing Franklin in the mix. Charlie Brown is still my favorite character❤! He acts so insucure, but he is very confident.

As a person of color, it was great to learn that Charles Shultz stood up for Franklin! I read an article about ten years ago that Charles Shultz, told people off in regards to Franklin. When my extended family comments on our Peanuts decor, I love to educate them. Charles Shultz integrated the comic strips! Franklin attended school with white kids, when everything in the south was still separate, but equal. Thank you Charles Shultz!!!!! Thank you for bringing so much happiness to my family. Thank you for being brave and standing up for Franklin!

Your legacy lives on!

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on April 20, 2016:

Thanks, maukajam. I'm sure the advent of Franklin in Peanuts had a big impact on a lot of people, especially in light of what was happening nationally at the time. I wasn't reading Peanuts back then, but once I started, I too looked forward to seeing Franklin in the strip.

maukajam on April 19, 2016:

Growing up in the early 70's on the South side of Chicago, all my friends and I loved the fact that there was a Peanuts character that looked like us. Thank you for so eloquently explaining this watershed moment.

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on January 14, 2016:

Thanks, Pamela. I think that in every era people have to make the decision to take the risk of standing for what's right, even though there might be a significant price to pay. I think that's what Charles Schultz did, and that part of the Peanuts story should be remembered and honored.

Pamela Karin on January 10, 2016:

Thank you for writing such a unique, informative, and well-written article! Makes me think about similar tensions and worries I see people having today, about how to deal (or not deal) with emotional subjects, and worrying about how you could be perceived by people on all sides. Also made me miss being a kid reading the comics on Sunday :)

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on September 25, 2015:

Thank you, grand old lady. I'm glad it brought back good memories.

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on September 05, 2015:

What an excellent, historical and analytical article. I grew up loving Peanuts, and was so sad when Charles Schultz died. I never came across a comic strip with Franklin in it, but I remember a feature article about him when I was little. Being a kid, I only read the headline. This was a wonderful time to look back, not just at the comic strip but at the tune of the times, and how Charles Schultz handled the controversial move to include a black child into Peanuts so gracefully. Hank Ketchum's version was pretty horrible. Life.

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on September 04, 2015:

Thank you so much, savvydating. I was quite surprised that folks were even thinking along those lines. I really appreciate it.

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on September 04, 2015:

Thank you, Ilona. I think that it was Schulz's hope from the beginning that young fans of the strip would accept Franklin without a second thought, as you did.

savvydating on September 04, 2015:

Congratulations. I voted for you and Franklin. I fully expected you'd win!

Ilona Elliott on September 04, 2015:

Great Hub RonElFran! I was a kid when all this was happening and wasn't aware of the history of Franklin, and still young enough that I was ignorant of the implications. As an adult Charlie Brown Fan I've always thought it a good thing that Franklin was dignified and intelligent, and that his calmness was the perfect foil to Charlie Browns angst and insecurity. Very interesting content with important historical insight.

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on September 03, 2015:

Thanks, BarbRad. I think Charles Schulz would consider your reaction when you first saw Franklin in the strip a great compliment: that's exactly what he hoped would happen.

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on September 03, 2015:

Many thanks, Brian. I think it's a significant episode in our cultural history that deserves to be widely shared and remembered.

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on September 03, 2015:

Thank you, Venkatachari M. I'm glad to be able to introduce you to Franklin!

Barbara Radisavljevic from Paso Robles, CA on September 03, 2015:

Congratulations on your Hubbie award for this deserving article. I'm one of those who never thought much about Franklin being black, but I grew up in California. I do remember that my town stayed white for my first few years because the Board of Realtors kept it that way, but that had changed by the time I hit high school. I guess I just took Franklin for granted when he appeared, and it never occurred to me he would be controversial. To me he was one of the gang from the moment he was introduced.

Brian Leekley from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA on September 03, 2015:

Ronald, congratulations on your Hubbie award for this excellently researched, written, and designed hub about a significant cultural first—one of many such firsts for African-Americans in that era which together had a cumulative positive effect on race relations attitudes.

Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on September 02, 2015:

Very interesting and inspirational article. You have done so deep research and presented it in a very beautiful and interesting manner. I know only about Dennis the Menace. This one was new to me. I came to know a lot about this character and this Chocolate comic strip on reading this article.

This article is really a great one and Hubpages have done a good job by selecting this as the All around Hub winner. I congratulate you on this wonderful award.

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on September 02, 2015:

Thanks, letstalkabouteduc. As that Rogers & Hammerstein song in "South Pacific" says, "you have to be carefully taught" to have prejudice against people who don't look just like you.

McKenna Meyers on September 02, 2015:

Congratulations on winning best hub! I never knew the origin of Franklin, but I always loved him. Schultz always showed the world from a kid's viewpoint. Therefore, it makes sense that the other children wouldn't fuss over Franklin's skin color. It's adult who have the problem with race, not kids.

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on September 02, 2015:

Thank you, m abdullah javed. I really appreciate that!

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on September 02, 2015:

Thanks so much, MsDora. I think that it's an encouraging piece of our history that we need to remember in these divisive days.

muhammad abdullah javed on September 02, 2015:

Heartfelt congratulations to you RonElFran on being conferred the award of best all round hub, keep rising and shining. May God bless you with more such awards and accolades. Take care.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on September 02, 2015:

Congratulations on having this article voted Best All-Round Hub! More success to you, going forward!

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on August 12, 2015:

Thank you, snerfu. I think this is an important part of our history here in the U. S.

Vivian Sudhir from Madurai, India on August 05, 2015:

Congrats on the HOTD award. In India, we do not have this problem but the way comics come to the rescue is so heartening indeed. Good work RonElFran.

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on August 01, 2015:

FatFreddysCat, I saw that, too in the online paper I read. And apparently you aren't alone in relating that to this article - it's seen something of a surge in views over the last few days.

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on August 01, 2015:

mikeydcarroll67, you are very much on target. I think the way Schultz added Franklin, with no fanfare, as just another kid, was exactly the way to change some folks' thinking without raising barriers of resistance.

Keith Abt from The Garden State on August 01, 2015:

Hi again, RonElFran - my local newspaper still runs "Classic Peanuts" strips on its comics page and this past week they re-ran the series where Charlie Brown and Franklin first met at the beach. I immediately thought of this article

mikeydcarroll67 on August 01, 2015:

I think that was a good way to help with the integration of different races. Being able to reach out to a cultural icon and introduce a character into a well known series was perfect to start encouraging people to start viewing things differently.

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on May 06, 2015:

Thanks, Writer Fox. It's a story very few seem to know about, and I'm glad to be able to help change that.

Writer Fox from the wadi near the little river on May 06, 2015:

What an interesting article! This is something I never knew before and it is definitely a story which needs to be told. Voted up!

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on May 04, 2015:

My pleasure Ron. I thought it was quite interesting to read it.

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on May 04, 2015:

Thanks, Kristen. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on May 04, 2015:

Ron, this was real interesting to know the history and backstory of Franklin in this hub. Thanks for sharing this. Voted up!

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on April 08, 2015:

Thank you, Charito1962. Actually, not noticing Franklin, in the sense of not seeing him as different from any of the other Peanuts kids, is exactly where we all need to be.

Charito Maranan-Montecillo from Manila, Philippines on April 08, 2015:

This is such an interesting hub! I love the Peanuts characters, but I hardly notice Franklin. I agree that racial discrimination should not be tolerated, as all human beings - no matter what color - are equal (and brothers!) in the eyes of God.

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on February 21, 2015:

Thanks, MelRootsNWrites. I still think that it's surprising that as late as 1968 this could have been an issue, but it was a big one at the time. I'm looking forward to the time when even the thought of such things will be history and nothing more.

Melody Lassalle from California on February 21, 2015:

Ron, I found this so interesting. As a child of the 1960s, I guess I don't remember a time when there wasn't a Franklin in the Peanuts Comic Strip. I think Schulz handled the situation the best he could because anything he did might be misconstrued by someone. These were such sensitive times. I grew up in an area that had been integrated for decades but it wasn't so for much of the United States. Today, it doesn't seem like such a big deal to add a Black character to a story, but in the 1960s this would have been huge especially for a well loved and established comic strip.

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on February 19, 2015:

Thank you, melissae1963. I really appreciate that, and would be honored for you to share the article with your students.

Melissa Reese Etheridge from Tennessee, United States on February 19, 2015:

Super article. I read your article on Persona Paper and came over here to check you out. This is wonderful. I'd like to use it with my sixth-graders as an informational text and close read if that's okay.

Sandra J. on February 15, 2015:

Franklin, where is your family? Do you have a black girlfriend or any black friends? Do you ever get upset or angry? I'd like to more about you. What are your hobbies and interests? Are you just a "token black" in an otherwise Caucasian world? Hmmm.

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on February 14, 2015:

That's interesting, Andrew M. I haven't seen that one. I was thinking specifically of the characters in the strip referring to Franklin's race. I wouldn't be surprised if there were another instance, but I haven't seen it. Thanks for sharing this.

Andrew M. on February 14, 2015:

"The only time race was ever mentioned in the strip, as far as I’m aware, was this episode (November 6, 1974)"

There was another strip where Lucy casually mentioned that some historians believed that Beethoven might have been black. Schroeder looked up from his piano looking puzzled and asked, "You mean all these years I've been playing soul music?"

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on February 14, 2015:

Hi, Keith. That's a great testimony to Franklin's impact. His effect on you had nothing to do with race, but he provided a role model kids of whatever race could identify with. That's exactly the way it should be. Thanks for sharing.

Keith Miller on February 13, 2015:

Although a white kid, I related most to Franklin. I was so glad to see a sweet spirited unaffected guy like me portrayed in comics. Made me feel okay to keep on being me. That I didn't have to have a melodramatic life to enjoy the wonders of living. Way to go, Charles! From birth practically and a whole lot of years in the south, I can say I've have never understood racial discrimination. Such an outrageously stupid waste of energy to hate like this. Super stoked to love all the peeps - whatever skin color we got.

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on February 13, 2015:

Thanks, Joshua P. It is a measure of how far we've come that for many people today it's hard to understand why including Franklin in Peanuts was such a big deal. And that's exactly what Schulz intended.

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on February 13, 2015:

Thank you, Ammon.

Joshua P from Alameda, California on February 12, 2015:

Wow, this was a fantastic article! Well researched, gripping, and engaging. I had to sign up here to let you know how much I appreciated reading this. To put this into context, I am 37 years old. When I was born the larger divide between races was mostly a thing of the past. I mean the tension has obviously never completely gone away, but when I was a small child till adulthood, having friends from various cultural backgrounds was far from unusual, or controversial. So I have never really first hand felt what the country was like only ten years prior to my conception.

I like most of my peers, probably never put a second thought to why Franklin was in Peanuts, or how/when he joined the crew. We probably always just assumed he was there from day one.

Again, I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to write this article.

Ammon Beardmore on February 12, 2015:

I'm a big Peanuts fan! I now have even a deeper appreciation for the comic. Thanks for sharing.

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on February 12, 2015:

Thanks, Pat.

Pat on February 12, 2015:

Great article...huge Peanuts fan and never knew that! Thanks for educating me!

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on February 11, 2015:

Hi Juliana. I didn't know that about Brazil. I'm glad that young Brazilian kids were able to identify with Franklin. I'm sure Charles Schulz would be proud of that. Thanks for sharing.

Juliana Penha on February 11, 2015:

I am afro-brazilian and when I was child Franklin was the only black children that I saw in cartoons in a country where more than 80% of the population are black or mixed. It's a really good article!!! I am happy to getting to know this history. Many thanks!

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on February 10, 2015:

Thanks, Samuel Barrett. Hopefully we're getting to a time when nobody will even notice such things.

Samuel Barrett from Douglas County, Oregon on February 10, 2015:

Being on the cusp between gen x and gen y I never paid much attention to the fact there was a black character. I guess I took it for granted. Very insightful

Jim on February 10, 2015:

To Jodah, there are new Peanuts comics being written. Check out Boom Comics.

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on February 10, 2015:

Thank you, Chris. I think the fact that someone born when you were took Franklin for granted is just what Schulz and Harriet Glickman were hoping for.

Chris Neal from Fishers, IN on February 10, 2015:

What a great article! I was born in 1966 so when I started reading Peanuts, I never knew a time when there wasn't a Franklin. I really had no idea about some of the behind-the-scenes stuff that went on. Thank you!

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on February 09, 2015:

Thanks for the congrats, MJ Martin, and thanks for reading and sharing.

MJ Martin aka Ruby H Rose from Washington State on February 09, 2015:

Oh yeah, I remember Franklin! Those wonderful comic strips impacted many parts of my childhood. Great persistent teacher, it most certainly was a radical move during that young time of our lives. To this day I am still a big Peanuts Gang Fan. Congrats on HOTD!

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on February 09, 2015:

Hi, Carlon Michelle, and thank you. I would be interesting to know what your dad (and presumably others) had to say about this at the time.

Carlon Michelle from USA on February 09, 2015:

Well done. My dad told me this story but I had forgotten as I was a preteen in the 70's when it was related to me. Thank you so much for reminding me and doing it so well. Smile!

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on February 09, 2015:

Thanks, RobertHowe. The inclusion of Franklin in Peanuts, despite opposition, is an important part of Schulz's legacy, and it should not be overlooked or forgotten.

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on February 09, 2015:

Thank you, Gaurav Oberoi. I hope those memories were good ones.

Robert Howe from Asheboro, NC on February 09, 2015:

Thank you for such a fantastic article! I grew up a huge Peanuts fan and remember Franklin ... but not any controversy. I was in elementary school in the early 70's, but where I grew up we didn't have a large enough population to have separate schools and I do not remember there ever being an issue with children of any race attending. Thanks to this article, my respect for Mr. Schulz has increased (if that was possible) especially when I read the part about his conversation with the president of his syndicate. Bravo!

gaurav oberoi on February 08, 2015:

Thanks. Reading your article brought back a lot of memories.

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on February 08, 2015:

Thank you, Jan. I really appreciate your kind words. I think the fact that a black character appearing in a syndicated comic strip became, for people like yourself, an unremarkable occurrence is exactly what Harriet Glickman and Charles Schulz were hoping for. Thanks, again!

Janis Leslie Evans from Washington, DC on February 08, 2015:

Amazing article, Ron. You are the best at detailing history and making it an interesting read. Congratulations on another "installment" of HOTD. Yours are always well-deserved. Now, back to the article, I'm a huge fan of Peanuts and appreciate this history lesson about Franklin. It seems that I recall black characters in the comic books in the 70s but can't remember Franklin specifically. It probably became a common thing by the time I would have noticed. This is a remarkable story you've presented in celebration of Black History. Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on February 08, 2015:

Thanks so much, savvydating. I think one of the great things about this story is that Schulz responded to a letter from a reader on this issue, when he was probably receiving hundreds of letters every week about the strip. And yes, I think Franklin is an extremely cool name! Thanks for reading and sharing.

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on February 08, 2015:

Thank you, Grant's World. I really appreciate that!

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on February 08, 2015:

Hi, onlinemovies24. I'm glad the article was helpful. Thanks for reading.

savvydating on February 08, 2015:

What a perfectly lovely article. I have always noted that Franklin was amongst the Peanuts gang during a time when he may just as easily have been left out. Franklin is "cool." ....and so was Schultz, to have listened to a lone white woman and some black women who agreed, on how black and white relations might be improved in some small measure. I am thrilled that Charles Schultz ultimately took her advice, and I can understand how he may have been concerned about being condescending. But in the end, the author of Peanuts became willing to quit rather than give up Franklin.

I love this article.....and isn't Franklin the coolest name ever?? Thank you for writing this beautiful piece. Voting up!

Grant Handford from Canada on February 08, 2015:

Talk about a blast from the past. I used to love peanuts many many oh many many years ago LOL. You are one great writer my friend. I am tweeting, Google+ and Pinning this Hub.


Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on February 03, 2015:

Hi, Snakesmum. I think that Schulz intended that his message of racial harmony among kids would fly a little under the radar. Thanks for reading and sharing.

Snakesmum on February 03, 2015:

What an interesting hub! Always liked the Peanuts cartoons, but never considered the ramifications of race during the time period you are writing about. Thanks for writing it. Voted up.

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on February 03, 2015:

Thanks, Dressage Husband. For Charles Schulz to add a black character to his strip when other cartoonists thought it was impossible to do so shows that he had the desire and the courage to do the right thing. I always liked him as a cartoonist; this made me respect him as a man.

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on February 03, 2015:

Arachnea, what a great compliment! Thank you.

Stephen J Parkin from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada on February 03, 2015:

I had always assumed that Franklin was a tribute to Martin Luther King and his desire for blacks and whites to be treated equally. I guess in a sense that is not far from the truth. Many cartoonists pick up on the politics of their era ad it seems that Shultz had given the matter a deal of thought.

I am glad he was relatively easily persuaded and that he then defended his right to have Franklin in the strip. Great Hub appreciated across the board!

Tanya Jones from Texas USA on February 03, 2015:

You're on my list of hubbers who post some really interesting topics. Shared.

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on February 03, 2015:

Thanks so much, Amie. Not only do I appreciate your commendation, I really appreciate you taking the time from hub hopping to comment.

Amie Says on February 03, 2015:

This is a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing it. I ran up on your post when I was hub hopping and it was the best one I read all day.

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on February 03, 2015:

Kaye B, I appreciate those encouraging words. Thank you!

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on February 03, 2015:

Thanks, mySuccess8. I think this is an important story, and I'm glad you liked it.

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on February 03, 2015:

Thanks so much, Molly. I hadn't thought about it before, but now that you mention it I suppose there must be a lot of people who first saw Franklin in one of the animated Peanut TV shows. I'm glad you enjoyed the article.

Kaye B on February 03, 2015:

The article is very thorough on the history of Peanuts and I liked it very much! Congratulations on being featured because you deserve it.

mySuccess8 on February 03, 2015:

This is an interesting and well-researched history from the Peanuts cartoon, that teaches us the need for social integration in all countries all over the world. This is so well written. Congrats on Hub of the Day!

Molly Layton from Alberta on February 02, 2015:

This is a wonderful article. I enjoyed the detail you went into. I didn't read Peanuts in syndicated form, so I knew about Franklin before I read the strips he was in. You may want to add an answer to that effect in your poll. I'll be glad to share this with my friends.

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on February 02, 2015:

Thanks so much, techygran. It's a great story that grabbed my attention, and I'm glad to be able to share it.

Ronald E Franklin (author) from Mechanicsburg, PA on February 02, 2015:

Thank you, Rochelle. I really appreciate your encouragement.