Public Lynchings Are Not A Thing Of The Past

Updated: Nov 12, 2019

Sundance Film Festival award-winning documentary, Always in Season explores this truth

I remember watching Roots with my family over the course of three or four days. I don't remember the series as well as I should. I watched it in bits and pieces. The sound of the whip as it cut through the air to land on Kunta Kinte's back left a traumatizing imprint on my brain that lingered for quite some time. I couldn't stomach the series in its entirety.

I attended a predominately black middle school. Most of the boys made fun of the name Kunta Kinte and, then there were some who announced their hatred for white people.

I understood that slavery was a long time ago, but I was no longer oblivious to the racism that lingered afterwards; that still lingers like the smell of a garbage truck once it passes by.

Every February, we get to celebrate the people that made life better for us, but we can't ignore the stench that racism leaves behind as it reinvents itself, by harming black people mentally, financially, and physically. Every time a new way is created, white folks act like racism died with the old way.

That's what Always in Season forces us to realize. Racism isn't dead. Filmmaker Jacqueline Olive told a beautiful, yet unfortunately familiar story of how racism in America continues to reinvent itself by using old tactics in new ways.

Jacqueline takes us through the history of lynching from the south to as far north as Deluth Minnesota, from the 1800s to 2014. She traveled and filmed for four to five years before she came across the public lynching that occurred in Bladenboro, North Carolina where Lennon Lacy was hung from a swing set on August 29, 2014. Lennon Lacy was 17 at the time. His death was ruled a suicide though there was a quick and improper investigation.

Jacqueline reminds us that there have been similar cases like Lennon's (20 and counting to be exact) across the country. That's 20+ black men found publicly hanging, without the crowd of men, women and children; without the popularity of being on a postcard. And so, these cases are being ruled as suicide.

There is no set season for hunting black folks. We are always in season.

If you are in the Atlanta area, you can see this riveting documentary until Thursday October, 10, 2019.

For listings in your area, go to