Tuesday, 31 July 2018

four panel format

On this day fifty years ago, cartoonist Charles Schultz introduced the first African American character in his nationally syndicated comic strip Peanuts (previously), Franklin Armstrong.
In the wake of the assassination of Dr Rev Martin Luther King Jr and the general tumult of 1968, a school teacher in Los Angeles named Harriet Glickman began a chain of correspondence with the cartoonist, asking him to bring in a black person into the cast. Franklin’s appearances were sporadic until Schulz received a letter from a newspaper editor to the effect that they had no objection to having a black character but implored Schultz not to portray them in school together—which advanced Franklin to the head of the class, seated at the desk in front of Peppermint Patty. The previous year, Schultz introduced an occasional classmate named José Peterson, of mixed Swedish and Mexican heritage, who was possibly the first non-pejorative portrayal of someone of Hispanic descent in comics.