By Briana Thomas
Special to the AFRO
The New Deal Cafe, 113 Centerway, Greenbelt, Maryland will show a documentary on Feb. 17 that explores America’s dark history of lynching as part of the restaurant’s monthly “Reel and Meal” film series.
Jacqueline Olive’s 2019 documentary, Always in Season will be screening at 7 p.m. and is free of charge.
Every third Monday of the month a film preselected by various community sponsors is projected at the cafe to bring awareness to environmental, social justice and animal rights issues, according to the event’s news release.
This month’s movie was selected and sponsored by the Peace and Justice Coalition of Prince George’s County. Lucy Duff, a member of the local organization, told the AFRO that in recognition of Black History Month it was especially appropriate to choose a film like Always in Season, which focuses on racial justice.
“I hope that this movie will help the viewers see some new ways that they can actively promote better relations across races,” Duff said.
Olive’s film parallels the historical racial terrorism of lynching to the racial violence that people of color in the U.S. still experience today.
Duff said that showing a film during Black History month that details the problems and suffering of racism does not detract from honoring the month by highlighting the accomplishments, struggles and achievements of African Americans.
The documentary is focused around the traumatic death of a Black teen, Lennon Lacy, 17, who was found hanging from a swing set in Bladenboro, North Carolina, August 29, 2014.
Local authorities ruled Lacy’s case as a suicide, but his mother believes her son’s death was the result of a lynching.
“If you knew in your heart and in your mind that someone took your child’s life, how far would you go to get to the truth,” Claudia, Lacy’s mother, asks in the opening of the documentary’s trailer.
As the film revisits the brutal lynchings of 1934 and 1946, Claudia, along with other communities throughout the South, are in search of justice and reconciliation in present day.
Duff said the film series at the New Deal Cafe began in 2007 and is co-sponsored by Beaverdam Creek Watershed Watch Group, Green Vegan Networking, the Utopia Film Festival as well as the Peace and Justice Coalition of Prince George’s County.
About 40 to 50 people typically attend the cafe viewings, according to Duff.
The film screening will be preceded by a vegan meal at 6:30 p.m. The cost for the dinner is $14.
The Peace and Justice Coalition of Prince George’s County is county-level chapter of Maryland United for Peace and Justice that was founded in the late 80s. The group lobbies against war at the federal level, for gun control at the state level and for justice and progressive bills in the county government. There are more than 100 members who frequent the group’s events and forums, according to Duff.