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 Klamsand 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 cultureon 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 seriesErnie “Sunshine Sammy” Morrison, Allen “Farina” Hoskins, Matthew “Stymie” Beard, and Billie “Buckwheat” Thomasthe 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.
|Publisher:||University of Minnesota Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
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 Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University.
Table of Contents
Foreword Henry Louis Gates, Jr.Introduction: All of Us1. The Eternal Boy2. A Boy and His Gang3. 100% American4. Sambo’s Awakening5. Everyman 6. The New Negro7.Movie-Made Children8.The Good Soldier9.The Little Rascals10. The Good Old DaysEpilogue: Coming HomeAcknowledgementsBibliographic EssayNotesIndex