In 1968, shortly after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., a Los Angeles schoolteacher named Harriet Glickman wrote to Charles Schulz regarding the lack of integration in Peanuts.
At that time, Peanuts was already one of the most popular comic strips in America — it was also predominantly white. While the country faced widespread social tensions over civil rights, Glickman believed that the popular comic strip could help influence American attitudes on race. She also believed that the Peanuts brand had “a stature and reputation which can withstand a great deal.
As a result of their correspondence, a black character named Franklin was introduced to the cartoon that summer, and would eventually become a regular member of the Peanuts gang.