Always In Season

Always In Season focuses on the death of Lennon Lacy, through the wider context of the history of denial, impunity and erasure of lynchings in the States.

Lennon Lacy was a 17-year-old boy who was found hanged from a swingset in the public green behind the house where he lived. Local police immediately ruled it a suicide, without investigating any other possibility. He told his Mum he was going out to take his washing in off the line just as she was going to bed, then when she woke the washing was still there, and he was dead.

Many avenues went uninvestigated, like the presence of white supremacist neighbours who had previously threatened Lennon with a gun, and that they might have opinions on Lennon starting to date a local white woman. A medical examiner, who saw the body, reported the presence of multiple injuries and defensive wounds.

A word of warning before you watch this – there are a LOT of pictures of lynchings in this movie. It is used to give perspective to how common lynchings were, that they happened everywhere, for centuries, and happened in the open where all could see. No one was ever charged for almost any of the deaths. And their existence was cloaked in silence, something unspeakable by the black community and something refused to be spoken of by the white community. And with each new generation of lynchings, the narrative was that lynchings were a thing of the past. In this denial, any contemporary injustices were also silenced.

As a reaction to this, and the current tendency to rule black men found hanged in public as suicides, of which Lennon is only one of many, there has been a growing urge to bring these cases to light, to not let them be swept away again. One of the stranger solutions that has emerged is lynching re-enactments. That’s something I did not see coming.

In the South there is a tradition of historical re-enactments, with Civil War battles being a favourite, and there never being any shortage of men willing to represent Confederate soldiers. Significantly less volunteer to represent KKK members and lynch mob members. Lynch re-enactments kinda turn the tables on how comfortable the South is with venerating its racist past. Everywhere you go there are Confederate flag merchandise, statues of Confederate soldiers, streets named after slave owners, and if you challenge any of it, you will be decried for trying to take away their history. But at the lynching re-enactments, tumbleweed.

The re-enactments also serve another purpose. These are unsolved cases. Every year they go to the crime site and reconstruct the crime. Maybe it will jog someone’s memory. Maybe it will finally shame someone who has buried it all deep inside. Whoever did this in the 60s or 50s or 40s, they could still be around today. And the KKK took their kids to lynchings, they considered it fun for all the family. So those kids may now be more aware of the significance of the things they saw.

All in all, a difficult watch, because there is no happy ending. This long legacy of injustice continues, and the victims are just supposed to live with it. But for a crime which is meant to have been erased, the most important thing you can do is acknowledge it and speak up.