Tuesday January 26, 2016

The complex racial history of the Little Rascals

From left to right: Mary Ann Jackson, Matthew "Stymie" Beard, Sonny "Farina" Hoskins, Norman "Chubby" Chaney, Bobby "Wheezer" Hutchins, Pete The Dog.

From left to right: Mary Ann Jackson, Matthew "Stymie" Beard, Sonny "Farina" Hoskins, Norman "Chubby" Chaney, Bobby "Wheezer" Hutchins, Pete The Dog.

Listen 14:52

For generations of kids and nostalgic adults, The Little Rascals are little more than a group of black and white kids who get up to adorable shenanigans. 

But Dr. Julia Lee, a longtime fan of the show, decided to take a closer look.

The image of interracial friendship, especially in Jim Crow era America, stood out in a largely segregated television landscape. She joins Shad to discuss some of the complexities that turned up, as chronicled in her new book Our Gang: A Racial History of The Little Rascals

WEB EXTRA | Want a feel for the original series? Watch a selection below. 

 

Our Gang

An original theatrical poster for the Our Gang comedy Baby Brother, wherein a black baby is painted with white shoe polish so that a lonely rich boy will buy him as a brother. (1927 Our Gang film Baby Brother/Hal Roach/Pathe)