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Our Gang: A Racial History of The Little Rascals

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  65 ratings  ·  11 reviews
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
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Paperback, 328 pages
Published December 29th 2015 by Univ Of Minnesota Press (first published December 15th 2015)
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Bruce
Jul 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
This fascinating book weaves an interesting history by contrasting the racial strife and discrimination occurring in the United States with the long-running Our Gang comedy series produced by Hal Roach from 1922 - 1938, and MGM after that. Before anybody starts yelling that the book is a revisionist, politically-correct white-washing of movie history, it is nothing of the sort. The book is part American civil rights history, part movie history, and part biography.

The book follows the movie care
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Brent
Oct 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of comedy and the movies
Recommended to Brent by: this fine author, publisher, and Goodwill
Shelves: cinema, history, biography
This is a necessary book if you love these short films.
Even if you don't - and I do - the history is compelling.
Recommended.
...more
Shawn Thrasher
Oct 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Julia Lee explores the dichotomy that was Our Gang (a.k.a The Little Rascals ): how Hal Roach and his studio starting in the 1920s produced short films that featured black and white children interacting in equal ways (even to the point of going to school together) but used racist minstrel tropes that even back then many found unsettling and wrong. From the very first Our Gang short, Roach mixed black and white children together; Lee uses the biographies of four of these African American children ...more
Chris
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Professor Lee of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, provides a thorough and profoundly important treatment of the racial issues that have been present in the history of Our Gang/The Little Rascals. It is refreshing to see so many examples demonstrating the subversive and forward-thinking nature of the series with regard to race relations, especially in the midst of an America that was overrun with Jim Crow measures. No where else could someone have so clearly witnessed integrated classrooms an ...more
Lauren
Dec 26, 2015 rated it liked it
As a big fan of the "Little Rascals" and the book by Maltin and Bann "Our Gang: life and times of the Little Rascals", I eagerly read this book. The author carefully footnotes and details the racial history around the making of these short films and the early TV broadcasting of the series. But something falls a bit flat with her conclusions and her structure. Its a great topic, I wish the author was stronger. ...more
Anne Stevens
Nov 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly researched but super readable, Julia Lee's book traces the history of the Our Gang series from silent movie shorts into the twenty-first century. She focuses in particular on the series' four black stars, "Sunshine Sammy," "Farina," "Stymie," and "Buckwheat." The concluding chapters on the television syndication of the Little Rascals in the 1950s and later pop culture manifestations (such as Eddie Murphy's "Buckwheat" character and the 1994 movie) are especially fascinating. ...more
Pat
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was interesting in its history of fond childhood memories. Definitely an intellectual journey. I wish it had come with a DVD of the shows!
Trav S.D.
Jan 31, 2017 rated it liked it
My review of "Our Gang: A Racial History of the Little Rascals": https://travsd.wordpress.com/2017/02/... ...more
Cara Byrne
Mar 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly engaging, smart book.
Autumn
Nov 21, 2016 added it
Look, I promise I have had this in my Amazon cart long before I read Paul Beatty's genius The Sellout, but now I'm especially fired up to read it. Wowza! ...more
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