October 2, 2014 11:00 AM EDT

Peanuts, which debuted on this day in 1950, is sometimes remembered for the cute kids and dogs that filled the comic strip’s boxes — but, as an exhibit now on show at the Charles M. Schulz Museum shows, that didn’t mean it stayed away from weighty topics.

Rather, Schulz, who created Peanuts, used Charlie Brown, Snoopy and their friends to talk about some of the most controversial issues out there. Schulz didn’t often take sides, but rather — as can be seen in the examples shown here — let his characters prompt readers to think a little more deeply.

Social Commentary is on view at the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, Calif., through Nov. 2.

Captions above courtesy of the Charles M. Schulz Museum.

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