William "Billie" Thomas, Jr., child actor. He is best remembered for portraying the character of "Buckwheat" ("O-tay!") in the Our Gang (aka Little Rascals) short films from 1934-1944. Although the character he played was often the subject of controversy in later years for containing elements of the "pickaninny" stereotype, he always defended his work, pointing out that Buckwheat and the rest of the black kids were treated as equals to the white kids in the series. R.I.P.
Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas (The Little Rascals). While Bill Cosby is notorious for being a serial rapist, he is less known for this considerable crime: he bought the rights to all the Our Gang comedies and then locked them all away, because he thinks they are racist. Yet they broke the color barrier, portrayed very friendly games and friendships between the races, and even had the kids tell off a rich white woman who didn't want Buckwheat in her house--so far ahead of its time.