Soaking & Cooking:
Black beans, like all dried beans, need to be soaked before cooking. This hydration helps to reduce the cooking time. Because they are small, 2 - 4 hours soaking in cold water should suffice. Drain, and cook as per recipe.
If you don't have the time, boil the beans in water for 1 - 3 minutes, turn off heat, cover the pot and let them sit for one hour. Drain and proceed as per recipe. However, there is a problem with this quick soaking (boiling for 1 - 3 minutes) method. Hot water increases the solubility of the water soluble nutrients, and softens the cell membranes of the beans, further accelerating the loss of these nutrients. This should be a consideration, because of the long cooking time during which more nutrients are lost. Cold soaked and cooked at a very gentle simmer, beans retain most of their nutrients, which are considerable.
To cook, drain the soaking water and add cold water, 1 part beans to 2 or 3 parts cold water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a very slow simmer, so the beans stay in their jackets. Simmer for 2 hours.