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INDEPENDENT LENS: Always In Season

Airs Monday, Feb. 24, 2020 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV + Thursday, Feb. 27 at 12:30 p.m. on KPBS 2

Claudia Lacy returns to the spot where her teenage son, Lennon, was found han...

Credit: Courtesy of Peter Eversoll

Above: Claudia Lacy returns to the spot where her teenage son, Lennon, was found hanging on Aug. 29, 2014.

A Grieving Mother Embarks On A Quest For Racial Justice After Her Teenage Son's Suspicious Death

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.

“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 and the PBS Video App.

Trailer | Always In Season

"Always In Season" follows the tragedy of African American teenager Lennon Lacy, who in August 2014, was found hanging from a swing set in North Carolina. His death was ruled a suicide, but Lennon’s mother and family believe he was lynched. The film chronicles her quest to learn the truth and takes a closer look at the lingering impact of more than a century of lynching African Americans.

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 Aug. 29, 2014, the case was quickly pronounced a suicide and his grieving family was left with many unanswered questions.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Phil Fonville

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

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.

"He Had too Much to Live For" | Always In Season

In this excerpt from the film "Always In Season," Lennon Lacy's mother Claudia remembers her son, and the very last time she saw him before his shocking death. "He had too much to live for," she says, rebutting the police report that said he'd committed suicide. Claudia went to bed the night before his death, with Lennon preparing for a football game the next day. She'd never see him alive again.

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.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Peter Eversoll

Rev. William Barber II calls for justice for Lennon Lacy at a December 2014 rally.

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.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Rodrigo Dorfman

Hundreds rally for Lennon Lacy, 17, who was found hanging from a swing set.

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.

"Like a Lynching" | Always In Season

In this excerpt from the film "Always In Season," Pierre Lacy, brother of Lennon Lacy, recalls the awful day he learned of his brother's death. Pierre is convinced Lennon did not commit suicide, despite the police report declaring it just that. Pierre feels the police tried to "force-feed a lie to my family." To him, it was clear that Lennon's hanging was meant to be a display, like a lynching.

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.”

Photo credit: Courtesy of The Washington Post / Getty Images

Claudia Lacy visits her son Lennon's grave.

Watch On Your Schedule:

With the PBS Video App, you can stream your favorite and local station shows. Download it for free on your favorite device. The app allows you to catch up on recent episodes and discover award-winning shows.

This episode will be available simultaneously with the broadcast on the INDEPENDENT LENS website, PBS.org and the KPBS Video Player for a limited time. Extend your viewing window with KPBS Passport, video streaming for members supporting KPBS at $60 or more yearly using your computer, smartphone, tablet, Roku, AppleTV, Amazon Fire or Chromecast. Learn how to activate your benefit now.

Join The Conversation:

INDEPENDENT LENS is on Facebook, Instagram, and you can follow @IndependentLens on Twitter. #IndieLensPBS #AlwaysInSeasonPBS

"Always In Season" is on Facebook and Instagram.

Credits:

Director / Producer: Jacqueline Olive. Produced by Jessica Devaney. Executive Producers: Sally Jo Fifer and Lois Vossen. Advisor: Stanley Nelson. Narrated by Danny Glover.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Teo Olive

"Always In Season" director Jacqueline Olive.

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