Why did American policy delay black emancipation and official enlistment until 1863, and what were the blacks’ motives for enlisting at all? This study investigates black soldiers’ participation in the American Civil War and the struggles on their way to equality. By coming in thousands, fugitive slaves forced policy to finally tackle the hushed-up issue of slavery. First I will investigate the political background, starting with introducing the three main parties in the emancipation debate, and continuing with the political steps toward official enlistment and the reactions of society to these developments. Secondly, I will focus on the black soldiers’ motives, including influences that had shaped them and obstacles which prevented emancipation in practice, and finally I will explore the war’s results for the black population. Even though it is not expected that the movie Glory, which is frequently quoted, conveys an accurate and historically verified picture of the Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts, it gives a possible perspective of the blacks toward the war. This study focuses only on black soldiers and not on black participation in the war in general.