Our Gang: A Racial History Of The Little Rascals by Julia LeeOur Gang: A Racial History Of The Little Rascals by Julia Lee

Our Gang: A Racial History Of The Little Rascals

byJulia Lee

Paperback | December 29, 2015

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It was the age of Jim Crow, riddled with racial violence and unrest. But in the world of Our Gang, black and white children happily played and made mischief together. They even had their own black and white version of the KKK, the Cluck Cluck Klams—and the public loved it.

The story of race and Our Gang, or The Little Rascals, is rife with the contradictions and aspirations of the sharply conflicted, changing American society that was its theater. Exposing these connections for the first time, Julia Lee shows us how much this series, from the first silent shorts in 1922 to its television revival in the 1950s, reveals about black and white American culture—on either side of the silver screen. Behind the scenes, we find unconventional men like Hal Roach and his gag writers, whose Rascals tapped into powerful American myths about race and childhood. We meet the four black stars of the series—Ernie “Sunshine Sammy” Morrison, Allen “Farina” Hoskins, Matthew “Stymie” Beard, and Billie “Buckwheat” Thomas—the gang within the Gang, whose personal histories Lee pursues through the passing years and shifting political landscape.

In their checkered lives, and in the tumultuous life of the series, we discover an unexplored story of America, the messy, multiracial nation that found in Our Gang a comic avatar, a slapstick version of democracy itself.

Julia Lee, assistant professor of English at University of Nevada, Las Vegas, is author of The American Slave Narrative and the Victorian Novel. She was named a 2014 Emerging Scholar by the magazine Diverse: Issues in Higher Education.Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Cent...
Title:Our Gang: A Racial History Of The Little RascalsFormat:PaperbackDimensions:328 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 1 inPublished:December 29, 2015Publisher:University of Minnesota PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0816698228

ISBN - 13:9780816698226


Table of Contents


Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Introduction: All of Us
1. The Eternal Boy
2. A Boy and His Gang
3. 100% American
4. Sambo’s Awakening
5. Everyman
6. The New Negro
7.Movie-Made Children
8.The Good Soldier
9.The Little Rascals
10. The Good Old Days
Epilogue: Coming Home
Bibliographic Essay

Editorial Reviews

"A wonderfully inviting study."—Publishers Weekly"[An] agile and insightful cultural history."—The Atlantic"Julia Lee gives a degree of depth and context to these four talented performers and their work in Our Gang: A Racial History of the Little Rascals. By foregrounding the stories of the black actors in the series, she uncovers how black America’s attitude towards its representation by Hollywood evolved throughout the 20th Century."—PopMatters.com"Our Gang is not one of those academically written film books clogged with jargon, but a fully fleshed-out and colorful pop-culture history: of Hal Roach, of the Roach Studios lot and both early Hollywood and L.A. culture."—LA Weekly"An engaging new book."—Pasatiempo/Santa Fe New Mexican"An impressive study of how the US’s racial history reverberated in the series and how it became an integral part of American history."—CHOICE"An excellent work of scholarship on an important part of America’s twentieth-century popular culture."—Studies in American Humor