The Black Wall Street Massacre of 1921 is one of the greatest and bloodiest tragedies in American history. In two days spanning the end of May and the beginning on June, violent crowds of white people infiltrated the black residents and black-owned businesses of the city’s Greenwood district, murdering hundreds of them, injuring thousands more, and destroying a prospering community. Yet many Americans remained ignorant of “the single worst incident of racial violence” in our nation’s history until it turned up as a plot point in HBO’s Watchmen, ostensibly a TV show about superheroes.
Today, HBO announced that it will make Watchmen free to stream this Juneteenth, even as Donald Trump prepares to hold a massive rally near the site of the historic killings and nationwide protests continue over the systemic use of violence by police against black Americans.
You can watch all nine episodes of the series on HBO.com or through your on-demand provider. If you want to watch it live on HBO, a marathon will begin airing tomorrow at 1 p.m. ET.
The Tulsa massacre is the inciting incident of the series, and issues of racism, class inequality and violence triggered by prejudice are at the core of its every episode, the rotting face beneath the colorful spandex mask. The show’s deft blend of pointed politics and genre escapism earned it near universal acclaim, and its sheer timeliness makes it the perfect binge-watch for this weekend—though really, in America, its subject matter has never not been timely.