Yesterday The Daily Wire posted an article about a recent controversy about “A Charles Brown Thanksgiving.” Some people who do not know the history of the Peanuts cartoon were upset about a scene in the program where Franklin, a character who is black, is sitting on one side of the table by himself in a lawn chair while the other characters sit around the table on regular chairs. The television special was declared racist on Twitter because of that scene. That declaration of racism does not hold water when the entire history of the cartoon and television specials is viewed.
The article puts the scene in context:
Of course, all of them have no idea what on earth they are talking about. Fortunately, black journalist Jeremy Helligar cleared up some of the controversy on Friday when he noted that the character Franklin had prime seating in other episodes of the “Peanuts.”
“A relevant aside: During the farewell dinner about one hour and five minutes into 1972’s ‘Snoopy Come Home,’ Franklin was seated on the same side of the table as Charlie Brown, Lucy, and Frieda — in a regular chair,” Helligar said on Medium.
The historical significance of the character Franklin cannot be understated; his creation was reportedly demanded by Charles Schulz following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. when a teacher named Harriet Glickman sent him a letter.
“When asked by the head of the cartoon’s publisher, United Feature Syndicate, if he was sure he wanted to add a black character, Glickman says Schulz replied, ‘Either you run it the way I drew it, or I quit,'” reports The Hill.
The Schulz Museum also celebrated Franklin’s 50th anniversary in July. He has never been treated like a token black character added for cheap lip-service to diversity and has always been a valued member of the “Peanuts” gang.
Watching “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” has been a tradition for family viewing during the Thanksgiving season. Hopefully common sense will rule in this situation, and the tradition will continue.