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Charles M. Schulz

Beyonce the gatekeeper? How African-American representation in media has evolved

Beyonce the gatekeeper? How African-American representation in media has evolved

In 1968, when the character Franklin walked up to Charlie Brown at the beach, it was the first appearance of an African-American in Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts” comic strip.

“I’m 60 years old, and 50 years ago, whenever a black person would appear on television, we would crowd around the TV and say, ‘There’s a black person!’ It was such a rare occurrence that any sighting was exciting for the community,” said Charles Whitaker, interim dean at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. “So when Franklin appeared in ‘Peanuts’ — I was a huge ‘Peanuts’ fan — it was, ‘Oh, my God! There’s someone like me in the Charlie Brown universe.’ He was a minor character, he barely said...

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