Although they experienced discrimination and prejudice, they fought with great bravery and courage. Their effect on the United States was overwhelming. African American soldiers played an important role in the struggle to end slavery. They soldiers fought besides white soldiers all throughout the Civil War. African American soldiers defended their country for freedoms that they would never partake in because they were promised freedom in exchange for combat time (http://www.itd.nps.gov/cwss/history/aa_history.htm). Although African Americans only made up one percent of the North's population, there were 180,000 soldiers during the Civil War. That was about ten percent of all Union Troops in the army at that time. Also, some 30,000 African American soldiers served in the Union Navy (http://afroamcivilwar.org/).
On March 2, 1863, the out spoken abolitionist, Frederick Douglass, published an article in hist newspaper, the Douglass Monthly. It was called "Men of Color, to Arms!" Since they knew that if the North lost, it meant they would be enslaved once again, free African Americans and former slaves joined the army. Frederick Douglass wrote and spoke supporting of the recruiting of African American soldiers in the army. "Once let the African-American man get upon his person the brass letters, U.S., let him get an eagle upon his button, and a musket on his shoulder and bullets in his pockets, and there is no power on earth which can deny that he has earned the right to citizenship in the United States". Fredrick Douglass expressed that a "black man" could not be denied of his citizenship as he fought with his life for that country (http://memory.loc.gov/ammam/aaohtml/- exhibit/aopart4.html) African Americans tried to enlist in the Union Army ever since the very beginning of the Civil War. Early during the war, they were rejected because most white soldiers were not comfortable fighting side by side with African American soldiers.