Alan, you have stated exactly my feelings regarding this subject. None of us, who doubt the large-scale participation of African-Americans in "Confederate Ranks", disregard or want to ignore the participation of thousands of African-Americans in support roles to the Confederacy, whether under force/duress or as volunteers. Unfortunately, the blaring noise of this unsubstantiated and confused claim, drowns out any reasonable discussion of the causes of the war and African-Americans, both slave and freedmen in the South.
I am a supporter of Dr. Williams on many of his socio-political and economic positions, but in this case, I believe he has stepped out on the ice and fallen through. Many people will now discount everything else he has to say, because of his stance on this issue.
For those of you who promote this position "in defense of your Southern heritage", you are undermining thoughtful discussion on the Civil War and any kind of balanced view of the moral and legal standing of the contending sides.
Let me state again, I believe the Southern states had the legal right to withdraw or secede from the United States. I do NOT believe my ancestors, who were generally NOT slave owners went off to war to protect the institution of slavery. I believe Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis were consumate politicians whose respective actions resulted in the death of 620,000 Americans and catastrophic, multi-generational damage to the South. I believe that the "total war" concept waged on the Southern populus was criminal in its concept and execution. BUT, I do not believe, from my own research and those of others that large numbers of African-Americans enlisted in the Confederate army or stood shoulder to should in line of battle with my Southern ancestors. In fact, though racist according to our times, I believe I insult the memory of my Southern ancestors, who would have seen African-American participation in combat roles in the Confederate army as abhorrent.