The theme for African American History Month 2011 is "African Americans and the Civil War". 2011 is the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. This guide will provide a starting point for research on this topic.
There is a lack of any consensus on language and how to describe the presence of free and enslaved blacks in Confederate armies. In my view we must begin by assuming that blacks were not soldiers based both on the refusal on the part of the Confederate government as well a the almost complete lack of wartime evidence (enlistment papers/muster rolls, etc.)
The Civil War placed the future of the United States in jeopardy. In 1861 and 1862, the Union and Confederate armies were stalemated, and European powers threatened to recognize the Confederacy. President Lincoln's decision to issue the Emancipation Proclamation and to enlist African American troops dramatically altered the character of the conflict.