US, BROOKLYN, NY | On WeBuyBlack since 2017

OH-TAY!

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OH-TAY, IS A TRIBUTE TO THE MEMORY OF WILLIAM BILLIE "BUCKWHEAT" THOMAS. ONE OF THE FIRST BLACK SUPER-HEROES MOST OF US EVER KNEW. NOT THAT HE COULD FLY, OUT RUN A BULLET, OR LEAP TALL BUILDINGS IN A SINGLE BOUND. JUST THAT IN THE MID 1930'S THROUGH THE MID 1940'S HE AND THE OTHER BLACK OUR GANG KIDS WERE THE ONLY BLACK FACES IN A SEA OF WHITE THAT REGULARLY APPEARED ON OUR TELEVISION SCREEN. THIS ALONE MADE HIM A HERO TO ME AND MILLIONS OF OTHER BLACK YOUNGSTERS. IN ALL BILLIE "BUCKWHEAT" THOMAS WAS THE ONLY ONE OF THE OUR GANG KIDS WHO APPEARED IN ALL 52 EPISODES OF THE SERIES. HE WAS 12 YEARS OLD WHEN THE LAST "OUR GANG" FILM CALLED, DANCING ROMEO WAS COMPLETED. HE MADE A FEW OTHER MOVIES, AND WAS OFFERED SEVERAL OTHERS. HE GREW TIRED OF THE HOLLYWOOD HASSLE. AT THE AGE OF 23 HE ENLISTED IN THE U. S. ARMY. AFTER TWO YEARS, HE WAS RELEASED WITH A NATIONAL DEFENSE SERVICE MEDAL AND A GOOD CONDUCT MEDAL. THOUGH HE RETURNED TO HIS CHILDHOOD HOME OF LOS ANGELES, HE STATED THAT HE HAD NO INTEREST IN PERFORMING.

IN 1980 AT THE SECOND INTERNATIONAL ANNUAL CONVENTION KNOWN AS "SONS OF THE DESERT" TOOK PLACE. THERE WERE OVER FIVE HUNDRED FANS WERE IN ATTENDANCE. AT THE FORMAL, HELD IN THE BALLROOM OF THE HILTON HOTEL, THE OUR GANGERS WERE BEING HONORED. WHEN BILLIE THOMAS WAS ANNOUNCED AS HE WALKED ON STAGE HE RECEIVED A SPONTANEOUS STANDING OVATION AND WAS MOVED TO TEARS. THAT'S WHY I CALL HIM A SUPER-HERO, HE WAS A HUMBLE MAN WHO HAD NO IDEA OF THE LIVES HE TOUCHED AND THE DIFFERENCE HE MADE! SO TO THAT WE SAY, "OH-TAY!" 

 

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