Advertisements
Advertisements

"A #Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" airs Wednesday night November 22 at 8:00 PM on ABC. This classic holiday cartoon is a favorite among baby boomers who grew up watching it each year. In recent years, however, this animated show has caused controversy because of the curious seating arrangement. Some believe that having the lone black child seated by himself is racist, while others believe Charles Shultz was enlightening viewers regarding racist attitudes. It's entirely possible that neither scenario is accurate. It could simply be that Franklin arrived after everyone else was seated, and this was the only vacant spot.

Franklin Armstrong was created because of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

According to Snopes, Franklin Armstrong was created in 1968 because of correspondence that Charles Shultz received after the assassination of Dr.

Advertisements

#Martin Luther King Jr. He was moved by a letter from Harriet Glickman, who had been concerned with race relations in the United States for some time. Shultz replied that he had not added a black character to "Peanuts" because he did not desire to seem patronizing. He emphasized that it was not because he was afraid of controversy.

Franklin appeared in five "Peanuts" comic strips and "#A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" in 1973 was his television debut. The Snopes article points out that by the early 1970s, Chares Shultz was not hands-on with every aspect of the televised cartoons. For this reason, he may not have had anything to do with where Franklin was seated. Over the decades, Shultz remained mum on the issue and now whatever he knew was carried with him to the grave.

Franklin's seating may never be explained

Sparky Shultz was a trailblazer during his time and adding a character of color was a bold move on his part.

Advertisements

In both the 1968 comic strip and the 1973 holiday cartoon, he opened a door of inclusion. Snopes contacted Cesar Gallegos, who is the archivist for The Charles M Schultz Museum. He admitted that there was editorial resistance to a black child being added to the "Peanuts" gang, but overall Franklin was well-received.

Now, 44 years later, however, this curious image of the seating arrangement has not been explained and is left fully to interpretation. Some will see it as implying segregation of the races and others will consider it as addressing the ignorance of separating people because of their color. The truth is that it could be as simple as the fact that Franklin was a new "Peanuts" character, and did not come to mind until all the others had been seated at the table. Whatever your view, remember to watch and enjoy "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" as well as your holiday.