Ken Kelly dies


ABC News is reporting that Black space engineer, housing advocate Ken Kelly dies at 92Ken’s place in the Peanuts world is that when Harriet Glickman was trying to convince Schulz to add an African-American character to Peanuts and Schulz was dubious about how that would be accepted, Ken was the person she convinced to give Schulz a Black perspective. Without him, it’s likely that we’d not have gotten Franklin.

But that’s neither the beginning nor the end of Ken’s activities to make America more welcoming to Black folk. Read that ABC piece, and you’ll see a guy who faced repeated discrimination from real estate agents, so turned around and became one himself, who got into jobs where others tried to keep him out on the basis of the color of his skin…. and achieved important advances in communications engineering.

And here’s where I’m feeling guilty, folks: I didn’t know (or at the very least, didn’t process) he was still alive and living in the area until I learned of his death. I could have and should have interviewed him at some point in the last decade. And now the chance is gone.

Skin tone

One of the questions I got when I showed the Charlie Brown Career Education Filmstrips at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con was “why did they make Franklin so dark? He’s hard to see! My answer was…. they didn’t. When I digitized the filmstrips that I showed, I used a slide …

Franklin stuff at Comic-Con

So once again they’re going to have a Peanuts pop-up “experience” (read: interesting display, with some items for sale) that is near but outside the convention, which means it will be open to folks who were not able to get into the con itself. This year, it’s themed “All Things …

Franklin Forever!

Coming to mailboxes near you, sometime (date still to be determined) later this year, is a new set of Peanuts US postage stamps, with “forever” pricing. The plate, which celebrates the Schulz centennial features two copies apiece of ten different stamps, with 11 different characters depicted in all. And hey, …