Roosevelt Franklin

What happened to Roosevelt? He was so joyful! Sesame Street teaching pride, tolerance and self-love and acceptance. Its amazing that when this aired in 1969 and the early 1970s, having a mainstream children’s show about black children was so groundbreaking, and especially showing them being friends with their white neighbors. Roosevelt sings about ‘back in the old days’ when people had shame about their skin color, but now he knows that being black is beautiful and he loves it. Somehow I don’t think this could air now because it is so obviously dated. Society has changed so much, or we would believe it has changed so much that there is no ‘need’ for a Roosevelt muppet singing about being black (or purple as it may be ­čÖé )┬á

But Sesame St in the old days was always trying to push the conceived boundaries with songs like “its not easy being green’ and the monster song where they sing about how they look different but they are all monsters nonetheless.

 

Here, Roosevelt teaches his class about Africa, pointing out the resources it has been exploited for, gold, diamonds and oil! These videos with Roosevelt aired during the Black Power movement and Black is Beautiful Era. James Brown came out with Say it Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud in 1968.

And now, 40 years later…a black first family, and everyone is talking about how beautiful they all are.

I know America is patting itself on her back right now, but there still needs to be an overhaul in order for the racial justice the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Power movement advocated. 

But all and all, I think Roosevelt Franklin would be soooooo happy to have a President that looked like him.

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1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Jenny said,

    I totally remember this character. He was in the original collection of Sesame Street Fisher Price Little People too.


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