Skip to Main Content

The History of Peanuts Character Franklin Armstrong, the First Black Cartoon Character Ever to be Seen in an American Comic Strip

Skip to Next Section

The PEANUTS Debut of Franklin Armstrong

Knott's Berry Farm

Knott’s Berry Farm is home to world-class rides, thrilling roller coasters, shows & attractions in 4 themed areas including Old West Ghost Town and Camp Snoopy.

On this day, 52 years ago, Franklin Armstrong, the first black cartoon character ever to be seen in an American comic strip, was introduced as the first African American "PEANUTS" character to Charles M. Schulz's beloved comic strip. 

Franklin's 1968 appearance in the PEANUTS came during a polarizing time in U.S. history.  With parallels to current events, race, equality, and civil rights were prevalent in the public consciousness during Franklin's debut. The Brown v. Board of Education's decision to desegregated schools and civil rights activists protests for equal rights brought the topic of equality to the front of a national conversation. 

The 1968 assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King was a tipping point for the nation. This unfortunate incident motivated Harriet Glickman, a retired school teacher frustrated with racial injustice, to write letters to various cartoonists encouraging them to add diversity to their comic strip publications through African American children characters' inclusions.

Socially aware and realizing the importance of breaking down racism and inequality, Charles Schulz took on Harriet Glickman's challenge of creating and showcasing the first black cartoon character ever to exist in a highly published comic strip.

Bringing about change did not go unopposed.  After Franklin's debut, Schulz received angry letters from editors protesting scenes showing Franklin and Peppermint Patty in a desegregated classroom and demanded that Schulz obliterate the Franklin character.  Schulz never let opposition deter his belief in doing what was right.  Moreover, Schulz was encouraged by a mostly positive response to Franklin.  The PEANUTS strip received many heartfelt letters fans that expressed joy and pride in having harmonious depictions of equality between black and white Americans.

Franklin Armstrong helps break down racial barriers and establish a narrative of inclusiveness and equality throughout the nation.  Thanks to the determination of Harriet Glickman and Charles M. Schulz, who did not allow the opposition to stop them from doing what they knew was right, Franklin became a symbol of equality during the civil rights era. Glickman and Schulz's actions are a testament to the fact that righteous acts, no matter how small, can have a profoundly meaningful impact on society.

Peanuts Character Franklin Armstrong at Knott's Berry Farm Amusement Park

Related Topics:

Share This

Knott's Berry Farm

Knott’s Berry Farm is home to world-class rides, thrilling roller coasters, shows & attractions in 4 themed areas including Old West Ghost Town and Camp Snoopy.

Post a Comment

Skip to Next Section

Meet Knott's Most Legendary Creature: Catawampus

In Ghost Town, at the end of Main Street near the base of the old windmill, lives one of Knott’s most legendary creatures. It’s a very strange creature made of an old tree branch, a bristle brush and a set of ram horns. What is this creature? It is called a CATAWAMPUS.
Read More

Get to Know the Knott's Anniversary Ambassador Team - Rasing Wolves

This week on the Knott's Berry Blog, we'll be showcasing our Knott's Anniversary Ambassadors - Raising Wolves!
Read More

Which Camp Snoopy Ride Are You? 

Knott’s Berry Farm is everyone’s home away from home, and what better way to feel connected to the park while being away than by finding out which Camp Snoopy ride you are.
Read More

Get to Know the Knott's Anniversary Ambassador Team - Sandy Toes and Popsicles

This week on the Knott's Berry Blog, we'll be showcasing our Knott's Anniversary Ambassadors - Sandy Toes and Popsicles!
Read More

Revisit Ghost Town Alive! in 360°

Ever wanted to visit the Wild West? Experience life as an outlaw at Ghost Town Alive! in this 360° video.
Read More

The PEANUTS Debut of Franklin Armstrong

Learn about the history of Franklin Armstrong, the first African American cartoon character ever to be seen in an American comic strip.
Read More

Get to Know the Knott's Anniversary Ambassador Team - Rockin Mama

This week on the Knott's Berry Blog, we'll be showcasing our Knott's Anniversary Ambassadors - Rockin Mama!
Read More

Even More Knott's Peanuts Color By Number Pages

Today we have more fun color by number sheets featuring your favorite pals at Knott's - The Peanuts Gang!
Read More

Get to Know the Knott's Anniversary Ambassador Team - Toiley T. Paper

This week on the Knott's Berry Blog, we'll be showcasing our Knott's Anniversary Ambassadors - Toiley T. Paper
Read More

8 Must-Have Berry Market Treats

Berry Market is home of the world's largest selection of Knott's Berry Farm's signature jams and jellies, flavored coffees, and gourmet foods. It’s also the perfect spot to stock up on gifts.
Read More