“Because he was so famous and the strips were so important, I really didn’t think I would get an answer,” Glickman, now 88, told TheWrap. “It was really not long afterwards that I did. He said that that he had been thinking about it a lot, but didn’t think it would be possible because he thought that black parents might find it patronizing.”
Upon hearing that, Glickman showed Schulz’ letter to some of her African-American friends to get their opinion on the matter. They each wrote him that they would welcome such a character, and Schulz wrote her back, telling her that she would be pleased to see the character in the strip in the week of July 29. Franklin was born.
“The idea was that a black child should be able to see himself looking at a comic strip that people loved and say, ‘Oh, I’m one of them,'” Glickma recalled. “And white kids should look at it and say, ‘That’s natural — black and white kids in a classroom, that’s the way it should be.'”
Not everyone welcomed Franklin’s addition into the “Peanuts” gang. Schulz got pushback from newspapers, particularly in the South, but reportedly told his syndicate, “You print it the way I draw it or I quit.”
Glickman added that modern technology has made it easier for ordinary people to make a positive impact on the world. “The voice we have now because of social media — you can be heard now in a different way than you could 47 years ago,” she said.