Charles M. Schulz in 1978(AP)

Nowadays we are beginning to have a larger understanding of the importance of representation in media.

But, of course, that wasn't always the case. This is the story of Charles M. Shulz, and the character of Franklin the first Black character to be introduced to the cartoon.

It was 1968. Desegregation was well underway, but racial tension was still at an all time high. Martin Luther King Jr. had just been assassinated. Months after, illustrator and creator of the Peanuts comics, Charles M. Shulz introduced Franklin the comic strip's first Black character. Only a decade earlier, U.S. Federal troops had escorted a small group of Black students to meet their white classmates in a school in Little Rock, Arkansas. It was time that this change be reflected in the lives of the Peanuts characters, too.

When Franklin walked onto the pages of Peanuts, many fans were upset.

When Franklin was first shown with his white peers, some comic strip readers reacted badly to the new character. Many of the editors of the comics protested. In an interview with Mr. Shulz, he said that an "editor protested once when Franklin was sitting in the same row of school desks with Peppermint Patty, and said, 'We have enough trouble here in the South without you showing the kids together in school.'"

But one reader was beyond excited: Harriet Glickman, a mother of three from Los Angeles.

In April that year, (before Franklin was introduced) she wrote to Schulz:

Since the death of Martin Luther King, Ive 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 asked for the introduction of Negro children into the Peanuts world:

Im sure one doesnt make radical changes in so important an institution without a lot of shock waves from syndicates, clients, etc. You have, however, a stature and reputation which can withstand a great deal.

Schulz quickly wrote back. He was enthusiastic, but worried that the introduction of a Black character would come off as patronizing.

"You present an interesting dilemma," Glickman responded. She offered to talk to some of her Black friends to gain further perspective.

Schulz was excited, but remained trepidatious. What if he seemed condescending?

After much correspondence, Schulz wrote a very exciting letter to Glickman...

Franklin debuted in the July 31 strip as a boy Charlie Brown met on the beach. According to Corry Kanzenberg, curator of the Scholz Museum, it was very unusual for Shulz to listen and respond to the suggestions of fans. This time, though, Schulz knew it was the right thing to do.

Franklin is known to be less anxious than the other Peanuts characters. He is kind to Charlie, and never criticizes or mocks him. Some have argued that the blandness of Franklins character is indeed patronizing, but others found it refreshing.

Glickman said in an interview that she had no idea what kind of impact she would make with her letter to Schulz. But after Kings death, she says, You wanted to do something: you felt powerless in a situation like that. I thought, This might be a nice little idea.'

Thank you, Ms. Glickman.

Images courtesy of the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center, Santa Rosa, California

People Who've Changed Their Opinion On Something After Doing Research Share Their Experiences
Photo by camilo jimenez on Unsplash

Have you ever rolled your eyes as a friend tried to convince you to try the latest fad, eat at a restaurant that had not appealed to you, or watch a movie or TV show that didn't spark your fancy?

Then, after reading about it more, discover it was all that was missing from your life?

Or, on the flip side, have you ever stopped watching what was once your favorite TV show, eating at your favorite restaurant, or partaking in the fad of the moment, upon learning a little more about it?

They say ignorance is bliss, and perhaps the saying is accurate.

Reading up on various fads, foods and movies has the potential to permanently change our opinions of them, for better or worse.

Redditor Pineapple_WarpDrive was curious to know the many things fellow Reddit users changed their opinions on after a bit of research, leading them to ask:

"What is something you changed your stance on after learning more about it?"
Keep reading... Show less
People Who Have Had A Run-In With A Serial Killer Share Their Experiences
Fernando Aguilar on Unsplash

Serial killers capture the attention of the public.

"Serial killer" is recognized by the FBI as a distinct classification of murderer differing from a "mass murderer" or "spree killer" or "contract killer."

Documentaries, books, TV shows and films have all been made about the lives and crimes of these killers—many of their names are part of pop culture.

But what about the people who lived to tell about their encounter with a killer? What were these killers like day to day?

Keep reading... Show less
People Divulge The Main Reason They Wan t To Go Back In Time
Deb Dowd/Unsplash

As someone who was forced to watch Butterfly Effect more times than should be legal, I've developed a bit of a knee-jerk NOPE reaction to the idea of time travel.

They say shows jump the shark when they start including ridiculous stuff just for the shock views (fun fact: that phrase comes from an episode of Happy Days where Fonzie literally jumps over a massive shark while water skiing.)

Keep reading... Show less
People Share The Most Interesting Statistics They Know
Photo by m. on Unsplash

When discussing statistics, people immediately become engaged.

Who doesn't want to know more?

And random facts are the best.

That is what gets you to 'Jeopardy.'

Redditor unelaboratedov wanted to discuss factual fascination. They asked:

"What is the most interesting statistic you know?"
Keep reading... Show less