The real Roosevelt Franklin appeared on Sesame Street as the first Black (as in reddish-magenta) muppet from 1970-1974. He was voiced by Matt Robinson who played Gordon. (The first one. The one with the sweet, beard and mustache. Fun fact: He was Holly Robinson-Peete's father. You are now that much smarter. You're welcome.) He attended Roosevelt Franklin (baaaaah) Elementary School along with his friends, Hard-Head Henry Harris (so named because he was a dumbass), Smart Tina (so named because she wore glasses and was therefore smart. Obvi.), Suzetta (so named because she was voiced by Loretta Long who also played Susan).
Of all the kids in class though Roosevelt was not only the smartest he was also the coolest and would very often teach the class important lessons before scatting and be-bopping his way out the door. (Come to think of it, I don't ever recall seeing an adult teacher.)
Despite his popularity, Roosevelt was dropped from Sesame Street after letters complained that he and his rowdy counterparts were considered to be negative stereotypes. Being a child at the time, I had no idea what happened to him. I just knew a muppet I liked was now gone. However, in retrospect, I have to admit the characters were pretty obnoxious. I would have probably been just as annoyed with them and would have asked my wife, "Why do we always have to be dancing and/or singing?" I would also have probably been one of the parents insisting upon his immediate dismissal.
So if you want, you can blame me for his demise, retrospectively.
Still, I can't help having fond memories of him. He was after all the first muppet that somewhat resembled me. This blog though is not dedicated to the memory of a retired character but resurrects and redeems him, casting him in the role of one of the many little Black boys that grew up with him and now have families of their own.
I just hope to God nobody sues me.