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In an Eye-Opening Revelation, an Actor Reveals How Martin Luther King Jr. Changed Television History — By Influencing ‘Star Trek’

Aug 5, 2010  •  Post A Comment

"Star Trek" may not have been the show it was without the influence of Martin Luther King Jr., reports the Los Angeles Times’ Show Tracker blog.

Nichelle Nichols, who played Lt. Uhura on the iconic show, said she tried to leave "Star Trek" after its first season because she felt "it was going nowhere for me," she said at a panel at the Television Critics Association press tour. Even though producer Gene Roddenberry asked her to reconsider, the biggest impact came the next night at an NAACP fundraiser where she was introduced to someone who told her he was her "biggest fan," the article says.

That fan? Martin Luther King Jr. The civil-rights leader told Nichols that "Star Trek" was the sole television show he and his wife would permit their three children to watch.

The reason: in the real world, African-Americans were being discriminated against for wanting to break down racial divides, but on the starship, a black woman was portrayed as an astronaut., the story says. “He said what Gene Roddenbery had done was to establish who we were in the 23rd century," she said. She says King added, "You are part of history, and it’s your responsibility, even though it wasn’t your career choice.”

7 Comments

  1. That is a very interesting story. And I thought the exact same thing the first time I read it back in 1974!!!

  2. In an eye-opening revelation, TV week regurgitates LA times story that is very very very old. I work with people younger than that story.

  3. Oops, I owe the LA Times an apology. They didn’t cast this as a new, eye-opening revelation. TV Week did that all on its own.

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  6. Greetings. First of all – fantastic blog! Secondly this information was also good and interesting to read, but I don’t think everything you have said is completely true. I will need to google about few things you have mentioned in your artcile to make sure. But anyway thanks for trying and good luck on writing other articles. P.S sorry for bad English, I aren’t English native speaker.

  7. Yo. First of all – great blog! Secondly this article was also good and interesting to read, but I don’t think everything you have said is completely true. I will need to google about few things you have mentioned in your artcile to make sure. But anyway thanks for trying and good luck on writing other articles. P.S sorry for bad English, I aren’t English native speaker.

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