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How Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. talked Nichelle Nichols into not quitting Star Trek
Posted by: pRICE cUBE
Date: June 09, 2021 08:41PM
The serious interview: [www.youtube.com]

The Drunk History Version (swears): [www.youtube.com]


Wikipedia:
On Star Trek, Nichols was one of the first Black women featured in a major television series as her prominent supporting role as a bridge officer was unprecedented.[4] During the first year of the series, Nichols was tempted to leave the series, as she wanted to pursue a Broadway career; however, a conversation with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. changed her mind. She has said that King personally encouraged her to stay on the series, telling her that he was a big fan of Star Trek. He said she "could not give up" because she was playing a vital role model for Black children and young women across the country, as well as for other children who would see Blacks appearing as equals.[4][13][14][15] Towards the end of the first season of Star Trek Nichols was given the opportunity to take a role that would allow her to move into Broadway, she viewed this as her purpose in life, to be on Broadway rather than in television so she decided that she was to take the role. Nichols went to Gene Roddenberry's office, told him that she planned to leave, and handed him her resignation letter. Roddenberry had tried briefly to convince Nichols to stay but this was to no avail, so he told her to take the weekend off and if she still felt that she should leave then he would give her his blessing. That exact weekend, Nichols attended a banquet that was being run by the NAACP, in this banquet she ran into a fan that really wanted to meet her.:[16]

I thought it was a Trekkie, and so I said, 'Sure.' I looked across the room and who ever the fan was had to wait because there was Dr. Martin Luther King walking towards me with this big grin on his face. He reached out to me and said, 'Yes, Ms. Nichols, I am your greatest fan.' He said that Star Trek was the only show that he, and his wife Coretta, would allow their three little children to stay up and watch. [She told King about her plans to leave the series because she wanted to take a role that was tied to Broadway.] I never got to tell him why, because he said, 'you cannot, you cannot...for the first time on television, we will be seen as we should be seen every day, as intelligent, quality, beautiful, people who can sing dance, and can go to space, who are professors, lawyers.“ Dr. King Jr went further stating “If you leave, that door can be closed because your role is not a black role, and is not a female role, he can fill it with anybody even an alien”

[16] This response by Dr. King Jr. left Nichols speechless, allowing her to realize how important to the civil rights movement her role was, and the next day she went back to Roddenberry's office to tell him that she would stay.

When she told Roddenberry what King had said, he cried. Nichols asked Roddenberry for her role back and Roddenberry, pulled out her resignation letter that was already ripped apart into a thousand little pieces. [17] Former NASA astronaut Mae Jemison has cited Nichols' role of Lieutenant Uhura as her inspiration for wanting to become an astronaut and Whoopi Goldberg has also spoken of Nichols' influence.[18] Goldberg asked for a role on Star Trek: The Next Generation, and the character Guinan was specially created, while Jemison appeared on an episode of the series.[19]




Ways to improve web conference image and sound quality. [forums.macresource.com]


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Re: How Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. talked Nichelle Nichols into not quitting Star Trek
Posted by: PeterB
Date: June 09, 2021 09:34PM
I hadn't seen the Drunk History version, nor did I even known that Drunk History existed. grinning smiley

But a few factoids that I don't remember were covered in either video:

1) Nichelle apparently went to Gene's office at some point after she decided not to quit (having spoken with Dr. MLK, Jr.) ... telling him that she knew full well what he was doing with the scripts, that he was essentially doing morality plays... something the network really probably didn't appreciate.

2) Nichelle is indeed a talented singer and sang in three different episodes of TOS.

3) Gene was apparently having relations with her at the same time as Majel, during the run of TOS. Ultimately, Nichelle decided not to be the "other, other woman".

4) Re the interracial kiss: when asked if she minded doing the scene over and over again with Shatner, she stated that you wouldn't do something like that over and over again with someone if you didn't enjoy it. grinning smiley ... she was also involved in sabotaging the takes where there wasn't any kiss, it wasn't just Shatner crossing his eyes.

5) Lt. Uhura was technically fourth-in-command on the bridge of the Enterprise (after Kirk, Spock, and Sulu; only counting regular bridge officers, therefore not including Scotty). Though she never took command during TOS, there was an episode of the animated series ("The Lorelei Signal") where she did.




Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/09/2021 09:34PM by PeterB.
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Re: How Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. talked Nichelle Nichols into not quitting Star Trek
Posted by: p8712
Date: June 10, 2021 08:55AM
TNG promply, uh, corrected race relations.

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Re: How Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. talked Nichelle Nichols into not quitting Star Trek
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: June 10, 2021 09:56AM
That was a lovely story, and Nichelle is a wonderful woman for her work. Alas, she is suffering from age related dementia, which is a terrible disease. I hope that the viral nature of these reminders are not a precursor to the announcement of her death, but I hope they bring some joy to her son.
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Re: How Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. talked Nichelle Nichols into not quitting Star Trek
Posted by: p8712
Date: June 10, 2021 10:49AM
Quote
cbelt3
That was a lovely story, and Nichelle is a wonderful woman for her work. Alas, she is suffering from age related dementia, which is a terrible disease. I hope that the viral nature of these reminders are not a precursor to the announcement of her death, but I hope they bring some joy to her son.

Did no know she had this issue. That saddens me. I know she retired from the convention circuit a couple of year ago.

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Re: How Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. talked Nichelle Nichols into not quitting Star Trek
Posted by: voodoopenguin
Date: June 10, 2021 02:48PM
Great story that I did know but thanks for the Drunk History link, that I wasn't aware of. Unfortunately the Drunk History did repeat the fallacy that the Star Trek kiss was the first inter racial one on TV. It was the first on US TV and for a long time it was thought that the kiss in Emergency Ward 10, a hospital soap on UK BBC TV, was the first but a few years ago the British Film Institute discovered an even earlier one on UK ITV broadcast live in June 1962. This was the play You in Your Small Corner.

Paul



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Re: How Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. talked Nichelle Nichols into not quitting Star Trek
Posted by: tronnei
Date: June 10, 2021 02:51PM
Quote
PeterB
Lt. Uhura was technically fourth-in-command on the bridge of the Enterprise (after Kirk, Spock, and Sulu; only counting regular bridge officers, therefore not including Scotty).

If only it were true. Kirk gave command of the bridge to Chekov (an ensign) in "Journey to Babel," even though the higher-ranking Uhura was sitting right there.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/10/2021 02:51PM by tronnei.
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Re: How Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. talked Nichelle Nichols into not quitting Star Trek
Posted by: PeterB
Date: June 10, 2021 02:58PM
Quote
tronnei
Quote
PeterB
Lt. Uhura was technically fourth-in-command on the bridge of the Enterprise (after Kirk, Spock, and Sulu; only counting regular bridge officers, therefore not including Scotty).

If only it were true. Kirk gave command of the bridge to Chekov (an ensign) in "Journey to Babel," even though the higher-ranking Uhura was sitting right there.

Actually, that's probably a writing error and not specific to Uhura. From the "goofs" section of iMDB:

"After the Orion ship is destroyed, and Thelev's suicide, Kirk leaves the bridge to head for the sick bay. Before he does, he tells Mr. Chekov to take over. Why would Kirk leave Chekov in command when Chekov is only an ensign? The helmsman, navigator, and Uhura are all Lieutenants, so one of them should have been left command of the bridge."




Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)
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