Harriet Glickman, who championed the integration of the Peanuts comic strip, has passed away.
Harriet Mae Glickman (nee Ratner)
November 1, 1926 – March 27, 2020
Harriet Glickman, the woman who had suggested to Charles Schulz that he add an African-American character to the strip and thus inspired the creation of Franklin, passed away this morning. Her death was peaceful, in her sleep, and she had been well prepared for this.
There are many stories of the Glickman-Schulz correspondence and the resulting introduction of Franklin. The preeminent account is the one Nat Gertler wrote for Hogan’s Alley magazine.
Franklin’s introduction was part of a five-day sequence featuring Sally tossing away Charlie Brown’s beach ball and Franklin rescuing it. In some ways, this seems an aggressive bit of integration—many American public beaches, while no longer legally segregated, were still de facto segregated at the time. In other ways, the strips suggest what might be seen today as an excess of caution; of the twenty panels of the series, Franklin is in ten panels and Sally is in eight, but never is Franklin in the same panel as the white girl. Franklin would not reappear for another two and a half months, when he came for a visit to Charlie Brown’s neighborhood.
Well done Harriet!
update: The New York Times obituary or read it at ArtDaily.com