“Always in Season” on INDEPENDENT LENS, Monday, February 24 at 10

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A Suspicious Death and a Mother’s Quest for Justice Shows America’s History of Lynching Isn’t History at All — Lessons Lost Only Perpetuates Racial Terrorism, Every Season


A haunting exploration of racial violence in America, Always in Season takes an unflinching look at the multi-generational impact of lynching, connecting the racial violence that persists today to historic terrorism. The film centers on the case of Lennon Lacy, an African American teen who was found hanging from a swing set in Bladenboro, North Carolina, in 2014, and whose mother, Claudia, seeks answers for her son’s death that was quickly ruled a suicide, despite inconsistencies in the case.

Claudia Lacy at graveyard
Claudia Lacy cleans up the flowers at the grave of her son, Lennon Lacy, Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014, at Old Shaw-Lacy Field Cemetery in Bladenboro, N.C. Lennon Lacy, a 17-year-old black teenager, was found dead on Aug. 29, 2014, hanging from a swing set in a trailer park in the rural community. Police ruled the death a suicide, but his family believe it was murder.

Always in Season spotlights grassroots efforts in communities across the country, like Bladenboro, to acknowledge the people victimized by lynching, heal lingering wounds, and bring about justice. This debut documentary feature of Jacqueline Olive, premieres on Independent Lens Monday, February 24, 2020, 10:00-11:30 PM  on WOUB, and the PBS Video App.

When Lennon Lacy was found publicly hanging just days before his high school football season was about to start in the small town of Bladenboro, North Carolina, on August 29, 2014, the case was quickly pronounced a suicide and his grieving family was left with many unanswered questions. Confronted by stark inconsistencies and few answers from officials, Lennon’s mother Claudia and many in Bladenboro, including Claudia, believe he was lynched. Despite her grief, Claudia leads efforts in what has become an ongoing fight for the truth.

Awarded the Special Jury Prize for Moral Urgency at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, Always in Season follows Claudia’s fight for justice. As her son’s case unfolds, filmmaker Jacqueline Olive deftly weaves in stories of other communities seeking racial justice and reconciliation. Currently, in Monroe, Georgia, just a few hundred miles away from Claudia, a diverse group of reenactors including the adult daughter of a former Ku Klux Klan leader, annually dramatize a 1946 quadruple lynching to ensure the victims are never forgotten and encourage people in the community to come forward with information that might bring the perpetrators to justice.

Mother and son at rally
Claudia, Lennon’s mother, and Pierre Lacy, Lennon’s brother, attend a rally to bring justice for Lennon.

Interviews with the lynching reenactors, Lennon Lacy’s family and friends, and notable expert figures, as well as powerful narration from actor and activist Danny Glover, come together to paint an eye-opening picture of the reverberations of racial violence through generations. As the terrorism of the past bleeds into the present, the film asks: what will it take for Americans to begin building a national movement for racial justice and reconciliation?

“Jacqueline Olive’s first documentary feature uses sensitive and searing storytelling to show us that the racial violence many often think of as history is still very much our present, and to push us to take a hard look as a nation at the lingering wounds inflicted by this violence,” said Lois Vossen, Independent Lens Executive Producer. “Sympathetic, sharp, and resilient, her quest to get at the truth parallels Claudia Lacy’s own long journey to fight for justice and find healing. The film often strikes a mournful tone in the face of injustice, but ultimately it remains hopeful, and a timely and crucial exhortation for us all to consider how we can work together to further the justice that has long been overdue in our nation.”

Always in Season received co-production support from ITVS through its Open Call funding initiative, which supports projects through completion for broadcast on public television. In addition to receiving the Special Jury Prize for Moral Urgency at Sundance Film Festival 2019, the film was nominated for Best Writing at the IDA Documentary Awards in December 2019.

group at NAACP rally
NAACP gathering for justice for Lennon Lacy in Bladenboro, NC.

Visit the Always in Season page on Independent Lens for more information about the film, and join the Twitter conversation via #AlwaysInSeasonPBS.

About the Filmmaker

Jacqueline Olive is an independent filmmaker and immersive media producer with more than fifteen years of experience in journalism and film. Her debut feature documentary, Always in Season, premiered in competition at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and was awarded the Special Jury Prize for Moral Urgency. Jackie also co-directed the award-winning hour-long film, Black to Our Roots, which broadcast on PBS WORLD in 2009. Jackie has received artist grants and industry funding from Sundance Institute, ITVS, Ford Foundation, Firelight Media, Chicken & Egg Pictures, Tribeca Institute, Catapult Film Fund, and more. She was awarded the Emerging Filmmakers of Color Award from IDA and the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, and was recently profiled as one of Variety’s “10 Filmmakers To Watch.”