Midday Sunday: 'Our Gang,' A Racial History of The Little Rascals

Over a span of nearly five generations, Americans have been entertained by the "Our Gang" comedies produced by the Hal Roach Studios in Culver City.

From the early 1950s onward, the films were syndicated on television as "The Little Rascals."

From the first film, a silent shot in 1922 through the end of the series in 1945, the Our Gang cast always included at least one African-American child actor. Both on the set and behind the scenes there was never discrimination of any kind.

Audiences, however, sometimes had misgivings about the equal treatment accorded all the children, particularly in the South.

Julia Lee's book Our Gang: A Racial History of the Little Rascals covers the films' social dynamics in front of the lens as well as behind the scenes.

Lee was born and raised in Los Angeles. She is an assistant professor of English at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

She received her PhD from Harvard. Professor Lee frequently contributes to the Huffington Post where she writes about race and the media.

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