Nichelle Nichols caused a sensation in the 1960s for her role as Lieutenant Uhura in the classic television series, "Star Trek." It was one of the first times a black woman was cast as a main character in a major television show. But Nichols almost quit the show to pursue other dreams. She talks to host Michel Martin about her character's importance during the civil rights movement, and how Martin Luther King Junior convinced her to stay on "Star Trek".
Nichelle Nicols, who played Lt. Uhura, was considering leaving the show to pursue a career in theater until a chance encounter
Nichols was at a fundraiser when she was told a ST fan wanted to meet her... it was none other than Martin Luther King Jr.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an avid fan of the TV show Star Trek in the 1960s
Nichols told MLK how she was planning on leaving the show, and he immedately became serious...
He said to Nichols, "For the first time we are seen as we should be seen... it is not a black role, but an equal role"
After this convo, Nichols decided to remain on Star Trek... understanding that her role represented something very important
Nichols would even share in the first interracial kiss of US tv, a milestone in the media's role in advancing civil rights
Many people see Star Trek as a nerdy show, without seeing the bigger picture. MLK knew better though-and he was a Trekkie