As Rose Moore was saying in a recent article, https://moviepilot.com/posts/2014/11/01/agent-carter-will-this-be-a-feminist-superhero-show-2389828?lt_source=external,manual, The Agent Carter Miniseries promises to be groundbreaking on the issues of Women in Postwar America. As necessary as this is, by breaking this ground, Marvel has opened a door to another issue that is just as important and that is the plight of Black Men returning from War. I realize that as a white man, some may say I am being Hypocritical by even attempting this article but nevertheless I will.
In Society and especially in the Army, segregation was till the rule. Blacks were not as respected by their fellow soldiers, nor were they seen as being of equal intelligence or capability. Returning soldiers found many of their jobs had been given away and life was hard. Blacks were seen largely as laborers and positions of responsibility were difficult to obtain. Meanwhile, Under Operation Paperclip, German scientists were brought back to America and put back to work doing much of the same things they were doing in Germany. Human testing on Jews being considered in bad taste, those tests were performed on soldiers instead, especially non-white soldiers. As you can see, this atmosphere is full of potential stories for Agent Carter to touch upon, but two stories in particular present themselves to me.
My first thought is that Gabe Jones, also a Member of SSI from the Howling Commandos, and ostensibly a friend of Peggy's, is in pretty much the same position as she is. Here is this American Hero who has now been relegated to janitorial work or some such, but his talents are wasted in such a position. This man knows the ins and outs of Hydra. This man has the mad skills to get the job done and yet, due to his skin color, he's relegated to the back room. kept out of sight and underutilized much in the same way as Peggy. His story dovetails so nicely with hers that I'm actually surprised they haven't included him in the cast yet! It's almost as if they should be partners on Stark's secret missions. It's a great story, but I have another idea to address race within Agent Carter that is potentially more endearing and will have a greater impact..
Back in 2003, Marvel published a 6 issue limited series entitled Truth: Red, White & Black. In it, they told the story of 300 Black US Soldiers who were forced to undergo testing by scientists who were attempting to recreate the Super Soldier Serum that was lost upon the death of Dr Erskine. Of the 300, only 5 survived the tests and they were used covertly on suicide missions throughout the rest of the war. Of these only Isaiah Bradley survived the war but not unscathed as during his last mission he had stolen a copy of Captain America's costume and his backup shield. Although the mission was a success, he was tried and sentenced to life imprisonment in solitary confinement for the theft. He was later pardoned for the crime in 1960 by Ike Eisenhower on his last day as President. It's a compelling story and one that I think could be adapted by Agent Carter in a meaningful way. Perhaps she could work with him on one of his final missions and bear witness to his mistreatment.
Sex and race were important issues undergoing immense change at the end of World War II. The Agent Carter miniseries is in a place to shine a light on our past and I believe they will. I think Peggy Carter is just the woman for the job.