From The Jeffersons, created by Don Nichol and Michael Ross
Nominated by Jeffrey Alexander Brathwaite
Considering your question on influential American fictional characters, I think of George Jefferson, of the TV show, The Jeffersons.
As a young Black boy growing up during the 70s in South Bronx, I didn't have many role models. But in George Jefferson I witnessed weekly the fortitude and drive of a successful Black businessman.
In a time where pimps and denim were all the rage, I marveled at this endearingly brazen Manhattan penthouse-dweller who owned a dry cleaning chain and had a preference for smart 3-piece suits.
George had a loving relationship with his wife, only wanted the best for his son, and revered his mother. When confronted with racism he never backed down.
George Jefferson was the reason I carried a briefcase to grade school every day. I was teased when I walked down the block with my black Samsonite, but I didn't care. George did, and so could I.