Peanuts character Franklin celebrated his 50th birthday today. Franklin was created by Peanuts creator Charles Shultz on the recommendation of Los Angeles teacher Harriet Glickman, who wrote to Schultz and suggested he create a “negro” character in the wake of the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, which led to the unrest of 1968.
“Since the death of Martin Luther King, I’ve been asking myself what I can do to help change those conditions in our society which led to the assassination and which contribute to the vast sea of misunderstanding, fear, hate and violence,” she wrote.
After some trepidation, Mr. Shultz debuted the character on July 31st, 1968 meeting Charlie Brown at a beach.
So Happy Big 5-0 Franklin!