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Always in Season

A film by Jacqueline Olive

For almost a century until the mid-1960s, tens of thousands of whites attended the lynchings of more than 4,700 African Americans that often included hours of torture, mutilation, and photographs. Always in Season, an hour-long documentary, features intimate accounts from spectators, their descendants, and relatives of lynching victims to examine the impact this form of violence still has on Americans today. In contrast to the wall of denial that inevitably followed the violence, Always in Season asks whether it really has been easy for blacks and whites to forget a past that is not ancient history and includes racial terrorism.

The title, Always in Season, refers to the assertion that lynchings were so frequent and at times occurred for reasons as arbitrary as sheer boredom, that they were akin to the sport of hunting, but no license was required so blacks felt like they were “always in season.”

As the film examines the lynching photographs and postcards exchanged and passed down in families for generations and presents the personal accounts of those involved with lynchings, viewers will not only gain a rare look at the victims’ humanity but also insights into the ordinary people who participated in lynchings. The details of the descendants’ stories reveal the psychological, economic, and political damage caused by lynching for everyone involved and demonstrate the healing power of uncovering the truth. With complex characters who challenge the silence around lynching and offer thoughtful approaches to reconciliation and restorative justice, Always in Season’s message is ultimately one of hope.

The director, producer, and writer of Always in Season is Jacqueline Olive, who is also producing an accompanying Second Life (virtual world) project, Always in Season Island, which provides an interactive immersive environment for visitors to learn about the choices and circumstances that brought thousands of men, women, and children out to watch lynchings and strategies for preventing group violence in their own communities.

Always in Season received support from the Puffin Foundation, Ltd and Chicken and Egg Pictures.

Associated Members

Jacqueline Olive, Director