This scene from “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” is causing millennials everywhere to cry racism!
It’s the holiday season, which means families are getting together and sharing their favorite traditional holiday movies. But this year, many millennials watched the A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, and social media exploded in reaction to a scene of Franklin, Charlie Brown’s only black friend, sitting alone on the other side of the table in a flimsy old lawn chair during the big Thanksgiving dinner.
Twitter user Yessam said: “Am I woke now, why is Franklin in Charlie Brown Thanksgiving sitting all by himself at the table. Man. THings that I did not notice as a kid, and Terry Brown who said: Let’s talk about Franklin. Dude gets invited to Charlie Brown’s by Peppermint Patty. Then he finds out that it wasn’t a real invite, a dog is cookie the food and he’s gotta sit by himself at dinner. That’s Get Out.
And while today, this imagery is problematic, at the time it was created it was deemed as progressive.
Franklin debuted in 1968, which was right in the middle of the civil rights movement in American History. It was the year Martin Luther King was assassinated and riots were sweeping the nation.
: On April 15, Los Angeles schoolteacher Harriet Glickman wrote a letter to Peanuts creator Charles Schulz advocating for a black character to be added to the cast. And while Peanuts creator Charles Schultz agreed with the idea, he expressed concern that it might look like he was patronizing the black community.
He said “I don’t know what the solution is”. But that wasn’t the end of it. Schultz thought about it and wrote a follow up letter that asked the teacher what her friends would think of the addition.
And her friends wrote back.
This letter from Kenneth C. Kelly advocated for adding black characters, saying: “Firstly, it would ease my problem of having my kids seeing themselves pictured in the overall American scene. Secondly, it would suggest racial amity in a casual day-to-day sense.”
This convinced Schultz to go forward.
Finally, on July 31,1968, Franklin debuted in a scene with Charlie Brown, and from there, Franklin grew into a main cast character.
But it wasn’t without pushback.
In fact, this strip of Peppermint Patty and Franklin sitting in school together cause the United Features Syndicate President to call up Schultz and complain, but after a long talk, Schultz said, “Well, Larry, let’s put it this way: Either you print it just the way I draw it or I quit. How’s that?”
And of course, there was still a lot of room for improvement, but as the Peanuts brand has evolved, so has Franklin. He’s smart, runs student activities, and unlike his classmates, he has no real character flaws.
So what do you think about the 1973 Thanksgiving cartoon? Is it problematic or progressive? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter at @WhatsTrending.