NRA not formed to defend African Americans against KKK


CLAIM: Juneteenth is “the day Republicans freed slaves from Democrat slave owners.” Shortly after, “the NRA was formed to help Black people defend themselves against the Democrats’ Ku Klux Klan.”

AP ASSESSMENT: False. The NRA was not formed to help Black people defend themselves against the klan. Rather, it began as an organization to improve marksmanship among members of the New York National Guard after the Civil War. Slaves were freed by the Union Army, not a political party.

THE FACTS: President Biden this month signed into law the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, making June 19 a federal holiday. The holiday marks the date Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas. Although the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in the South in 1863, it could not be enforced in many places until after the end of the Civil War in 1865.

The passage of the act created extensive conversation on social media, which also included historical misinformation.

A post falsely claiming a relationship between the formation of the NRA and enslaved Black people circulated on Facebook and Twitter following the June 17 signing of the bill. The post shows an image of a Black woman holding a gun with text stating, “Juneteenth is the day Republicans freed the Slaves from Democrat slave owners. Shortly after the NRA was formed to help Black people defend themselves against the Democrats’ KKK.”

According to reporting by the AP, the KKK was created by Confederate veterans, not the Democratic Party.

“The KKK was a guerrilla terrorist organization. So to talk about the KKK in terms of open party affiliation doesn’t make a lot of sense because we’re talking about a different kind of entity all together,” says Joseph Lowndes, professor of political science at the University of Oregon. “There were Democrats in the South who were supportive of the KKK. And there are Democrats who weren’t.

The NRA was also not formed to help defend Black people against the KKK.