Connect with us

Features

Why These Letters Uncovered From The ‘Peanuts’ Creator Are Causing A Stir

Updated

on

Peanuts 

Peanuts is undoubtedly the most popular comic strip of all time. We love Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus and their group of friends. For about half a century, children tore open the Sunday newspaper to find the comics section. But in recent years, it was revealed that a fan wrote a personal letter to Peanuts creator, Charles Schulz, pleading for him to make one change to his comics. Did he listen?

Creating ‘Peanuts’

Charles Schulz loved drawing since he was a young boy. So, it’s no wonder he decided to become a full-time cartoonist. Between 1947 and 1950, Schulz drew regular cartoons as a weekly series of one-panel jokes, called Lil’ Folks, in the St. Paul Pioneer Press. It was in this series where he first introduced the name Charlie Brown. The series also featured a dog that closely resembled Snoopy.

In 1948, Schulz began submitting one-panel drawings to The Saturday Evening Post. In 1950, the cartoonist approached United Feature Syndicate with his one-panel series to consider national syndication. Schulz revised his series, changing it into a four-panel series, as well as naming it Peanuts.

Peanuts made its first appearance in seven newspapers on October 2, 1950. Then, on January 6, 1952, the comic strip was added to the weekly Sunday page in national newspapers. While it had a slow start, Peanuts eventually became one of the most popular comic strips of all time. Schulz identified with Charlie Brown, but he was also in every Peanuts character—even Snoopy. The comic strip became a symbol of American society, but someone noticed a striking omission. They decided to request a change.

Being More Inclusive

During the 1960s, the Civil Rights Movement sparked interest across the country. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an impactful figure, empowering others to fight for racial diversity. Following King’s assassination in 1968, a follower and mother of three, Harriet Glickman, realized there wasn’t an African-American character featured in Schulz’s comic strip. In April 1968, Glickman wrote a personal letter to Schulz, asking him to consider including an African-American character into the weekly strip.

Glickman, who revealed the letter exchange in 2015 while promoting The Peanuts Movie, said this representation would “help change those conditions which contribute to the vast sea of misunderstanding, fear, hate, and violence.” While Schulz received many letters from fans, he knew he had to respond to this request. He commented that he understood this change needed to happen, but he was uncertain he was in the position to make this decision. After all, he didn’t own the newspapers. He had to obey certain rules.

Glickman understood Schulz’s concern. With his permission, she asked two of her African-American friends to send Schulz some sketch and writing ideas on how to make a black character more relatable. Schulz responded, confirming he had begun the process of including a black child in his popular comic. Finally, on July 31, 1958, an African-American boy named Franklin made his first appearance in Peanuts. He wasn’t a background character. Instead, he was Charlie Brown’s friend. He talked to people. He was a Peanut.

Best Character Of Them All

Schulz’s inclusion of an African-American character has been widely recognized and appreciated in 2019, over 50 years later. People understand that characters like Franklin help demonstrate that all children (regardless of race or identity) are part of the fabric of our country. In 2018, in honor of the character’s 50th birthday, fans (including @the_maurcus) shared their comments on Twitter about why Franklin was “the best character from Peanuts.

Another user (@KellybeeHTX) commented, “I was a huge ‘Peanuts’ fan as a kid, and the introduction of Franklin to the strip was a really big deal to me.” Finally, user (@MaryCummins1) shared that Franklin’s introduction was “just two kids relating to each other normally and kindly.”

That was the main purpose of the character–to introduce that people of different races can co-exist and be friends. For the past 50 years, diversity has become more intricate in pop culture. We can only imagine what new characters will be created from here.

Features

Eighty-Year-Old Woman Protests to Support Black Lives Matter… Alone

Following the May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd at the hands of police, protests over racial inequality and race-motivated police brutality swept the United States and the globe. By June 2020, protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement after Floyd's death had occurred in over 2,000 cities and 60 countries. While most of these events were large...

Published

on

Continue Reading

Features

One American Woman Has Walked in Space and on the Bottom of the Sea

This story may shame you. I'm happy just to get out of bed in the morning, you may say. Or, it may inspire you. If she can do all those things, then I can get this done, too, you might think. Either way, this story is almost certain to impress you. It's the story of Dr. Kathy Sullivan, a woman whose career as a...

Published

on

Continue Reading

Features

Why Humanity’s “Doomsday Vault” Is On Thin Ice: An Investigative Look Into The Mysterious Vault Safeguarding Our Future

Jutting out from a bleak, frozen polar landscape is a strange building. Often called the “doomsday vault”, this mysterious center of scientific research promises to be humanity’s last hope in the face of a global catastrophe. With the ever-increasing threats of nuclear war, drought, and worldwide pandemics, scientists are desperately trying to safeguard our future, by any means necessary. Read on to get an inside look into what this “fail-safe” fortress is hiding.

Published

on

Continue Reading