Always in Season
For almost a century, tens of thousands of men, women and children came out to watch the lynchings of nearly 5,000 African Americans. Healing Mob 500 is our campaign to create a mob of at least 500 backers who are against dehumanization and violence and willing to face the history of lynching in the U.S. in order to better understand and fight racism and hate today.
To join Healing Mob 500, click here.
A Transmedia Documentary Project
Transmedia is the hot buzzword for a new storytelling approach that weaves together diverse storylines across multiple digital media platforms and technologies as parts of an overarching narrative structure. Our documentary feature film, Always in Season, tells the story of three communities across the United States that are facing the multigenerational fallout of lynchings that happened there as relatives of the victims, perpetrators, spectators and others grapple with acknowledging the victims, repairing the damage and reconciling.
And, Always in Season Island, our 3D virtual world locale in Second Life, extends the exploration of this history with an experiential look at the crowds of thousands who watched lynchings. This facilitated edu-social space will be developed for various 3D virtual world platforms including Second Life (SL). With over 25 million members, SL is the largest, most popular multiuser role-playing platform on the internet containing an extensive world where users can both explore and interact via their avatars. As visitors interact via their avatar with a lynch mob and impact the outcome of the violence, they will not only see the choices and circumstances that brought spectators out to watch the violence of the past, but also learn ways to fight racism and hate today.
The project title, Always in Season, comes from the fact that, at their height, lynchings of African Americans were highly organized family events that involved advertisements, notes from parents excusing their children from school to attend, and excursion trains reserved for out-of-towners. This form of racial violence occurred in every state across the U.S. but four, and for reasons as arbitrary as sheer boredom. Lynching was akin to the sport of hunting, and blacks were “always in season.”
Healing Mob 500
Healing Mob 500 flips the notion of “mob mentality” with an emphasis on the power of positive collective action. Our goal is to provide a safe entry point to step into often difficult conversations about lynching and race. We want to empower members to:
1. Raise Awareness by
- organizing local, regional and national dialogues
- hosting house parties to facilitate discussions and strategizing
- exploring the relationship between lynching and current racial violence, homophobia, bullying and more
2. Take Action to
- address lynchings that happened in their communities
- address systems and attitudes of racism and hate
- share their personal stories regarding lynching
Some of the tools Healing Mob members will be the first to receive are:
- project media
- action kits
- education guides
- invitations to fun events, like virtual flash mobs
- resource guides for partner organizations addressing related issues
From the Director: Why this Story?
On its surface, the subject of this documentary may seem grim. It’s understandable because it appeared that way to me also when I first began researching lynching. But, the faces of the victims kept urging me on to look deeper past the images of anonymous black men hanging that I thought I knew to see who the victims really were… these more than 4,000 men, women and children who looked like my relatives, friends and neighbors. And, as I began to hold their gaze, I noticed that the spectators in those images by the thousands also looked like my friends and neighbors. In the process of examining how they all came to be a part of such brutally violent events, I have become aware in new ways of the individual and collective responsibility for each other that we all share. Ordinary people from communities across the United States (including relatives of lynching victims, perpetrators, spectators and others) are still dealing with the multigenerational fallout of lynching, and they are coming together despite difficult dialogues to acknowledge the victims, repair the damage, reconcile and actively fight racism and hate today. Always in Season will make it possible for them to share their inspiring stories with the world, while you learn where your own family stories intersect with this intrinsic chapter in American history.