Most history of southern heritage speaks of contributions made by white southerners of the 1800s during and shortly after the civil war. Not so much is spoken of contributions made by blacks for that time period. A greater treatment on the subject matter of black southerners can be found in studies that cover the Reconstruction era.
After slavery was officially abolished, newly freed black men entered into politics and joined the Republican Party. Most white southern men who were Confederate veterans were Democrats at that time. Even though some black southern men who joined the Republican Party during Reconstruction did contribute to the Confederacy (voluntarily or otherwise), there was still some racial bitterness towards them, as the black republicans ushered in Civil Rights which was opposed by most white Democrats.
There’s a book entitled “Black Americans In Congress 1870 -2007″ that reportedly has information on every black American who served in Congress from 1870 (which was the year that the 1st black American took office in Congress). My review of this book is pending.
Blacks portrayed in “Gods and Generals” movie – reportedly in a deleted scene on the Confederate side. As of this writing, I have not yet viewed this movie to verify the rumor. There was a scene of black men (most whom were slaves) in a Confederate camp sitting around campfire singing “Steal Away to Jesus”. One of black men had just been freed by his master who was killed in battle and he was to bring the remains back to his family. The discussions between the men revealed the life of black men during that period – decisions as to what to do with their lives (“wait & see” , runaway if not freed, join Union, head North to join runaway family). There was acknowledgement that the Civil War was an engagement between white men. Black slaves were caught up in the middle of the killing. Although one of the black men in this movie had just been freed, it appeared that his duty was not to the Confederate military, as his obligated presence ended with the death & safe return of his Master’s (Boss) remains to his family.
Slavery as an institution and especially the relationship between black slave and their master, was most peculiar during the Civil War on the Confederate side. Of most importance on a black man’s mind was his “FREEDOM” from slavery, even though the future of a slave or newly freed black man was uncertain. Very rare if any are there Civil War movies that show the participation of blacks on the Confederate side (freed or slave). It’s sort of like the rare sight of statues in the physical likeness of blacks for the South for that time period, even though the South had an overwhelmingly large black population.