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Arts & Culture

INDEPENDENT LENS: Always In Season

Claudia Lacy returns to the spot where her teenage son, Lennon, was found hanging on Aug. 29, 2014.
Courtesy of Peter Eversoll
Claudia Lacy returns to the spot where her teenage son, Lennon, was found hanging on Aug. 29, 2014.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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

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.”

Claudia Lacy visits her son Lennon's grave.
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.

"Always In Season" director Jacqueline Olive.
Courtesy of Teo Olive
"Always In Season" director Jacqueline Olive.