The Peanuts cartoon franchise started in the early 1950s and is one of the most famous and influential cartoon series of all time. Because Peanuts was featured primarily in comic strips in the Sunday newspaper and later in films and television specials, its target audience is family friendly, with both children and adults taking part. In 1968, which was also in the heat of the civil rights movement, a new character, Franklin, was introduced into the Sunday comic strip. Because he was Black, Franklin made history and quickly became one of the most famous Black cartoon characters of all time.
Like many other venues in 1960s America, the comics page was essentially racially segregated. The diversification of the comics required the mainstream acceptance of Charles Schulz’ Peanuts and the persistent idealism of one of its readers.
In the summer of 1968, Charles Schulz decided not to take the path of least resistance and introduce the world to Franklin, the first and only Black Peanuts character.
Franklin made his first Peanuts comic strip appearance on August 1, 1968 in a short run of four comic strips which lasted three days. Franklin did not reappear until October 15, 1968. Check out the lost comic strips of Franklin from Peanuts.
Franklin, the sole Black member of the Peanuts ensemble, is sitting all by himself on one side of the table.