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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > Star Trek - Original Series

Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old August 13 2011, 11:39 PM   #16
Admiral James Kirk
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Re: Nichelle Nichols Interview

If I were Greg Morris I'd be sticking pins in an Uhura doll every time she talked about her sweeping influence on the American civil rights movement. I still maintain that placing a black man in an important position on a primarily white team set in then contemporary America was far more groundbreaking and important than having a beautiful black woman pushing buttons on a spaceship in the far future.
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Old August 14 2011, 12:43 AM   #17
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Re: Nichelle Nichols Interview

Smellincoffee wrote: View Post
I listened to the interviews last night. The first is the MLK story. She said that she joined Star Trek as resume-filler for her hoped-for theatrical aspirations, and after the first season she'd been offered a promising role in a theatre production and decided to leave to follow that. However, while attending a NAACP meeting MLK asked to meet her and stressed the importance of her role as Uhura, after which point she went back.

The second interview is about her work with NASA, including recruiting women and "people of color".
Yep, that's 'official version 3'.

Version 1: She received a letter from MLK.
Version 2: She received phone call from MLK.
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Old August 14 2011, 12:50 AM   #18
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Re: Nichelle Nichols Interview

I believe Version 0 was "I asked myself what Reverend King would say."
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Old August 14 2011, 01:09 AM   #19
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Re: Nichelle Nichols Interview

Admiral James Kirk wrote: View Post
If I were Greg Morris I'd be sticking pins in an Uhura doll every time she talked about her sweeping influence on the American civil rights movement. I still maintain that placing a black man in an important position on a primarily white team set in then contemporary America was far more groundbreaking and important than having a beautiful black woman pushing buttons on a spaceship in the far future.
Weren't Bill Cosby and Robert Culp doing their thing on I Spy before Mission: Impossible came along (yes, according to wikipedia: I Spy was on the air a year before M:I was)? If anyone should be plunging pins into to their Nichelle doll, I think it should be the Cos. Kelly Robinson and Alexander Scott were portrayed as being about as equal as anyone could be, with neither one being subordinate to the other.
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Old August 14 2011, 01:24 AM   #20
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Re: Nichelle Nichols Interview

Oh, I thought I, Spy came later. You're right. Cos should be sticking pins in an Uhura doll.
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Old August 14 2011, 01:25 AM   #21
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Re: Nichelle Nichols Interview

Dennis wrote: View Post
I believe Version 0 was "I asked myself what Reverend King would say."
Does anybody have a reference to an article or interview anywhere that has Nichelle quoted as being inspired by MLK, without having met him? Anything I've ever read cites her as having met MLK briefly and that he encouraged her to stay on the show.

I wouldn't be surprised if it is indeed true. MLK was very sensitive to the inequality issue, so anything as ground breaking as Star Trek would have caught his attention.

It never ceases to amaze me how many people on TrekBBS criticize her and suggest she made up the whole thing. It doesn't seem that likely... and really, what does it matter? So long as the story doesn't change drastically, where she later says something like "After we met, MLK kept in touch with me, calling up after a watching an episode to chat, pushing me to get more screen time."
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Old August 14 2011, 01:54 AM   #22
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Re: Nichelle Nichols Interview

Mission Impossible and I Spy were mostly action shows and I'm sure MLK appreciated that African Americans were treated fairly on their shows, but I think he especially took note of Star Trek, because it took place in a future that reflected his own vision of the future where prejudice, at least amongst humans, was largely ignored. Also, it was African American woman and not a man being a recurring character on the show. Just ask Whoopi Goldberg what an influence she had on her.

I do get what your point that the story has changed details over the years and I do hope it did happened and wasn't bullshit. I remember telling Nichol's story when I was in 2nd grade when we were learning about MLK. I first heard it on the William Shatner's Star Trek Memories VHS tape. My teacher's jaw dropped and gave me an applause and the other students joined in. It reminded me of Star Trek VI.
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Old August 14 2011, 02:37 AM   #23
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Re: Nichelle Nichols Interview

Gary7 wrote: View Post
It never ceases to amaze me how many people on TrekBBS criticize her and suggest she made up the whole thing. It doesn't seem that likely... and really, what does it matter? So long as the story doesn't change drastically, where she later says something like "After we met, MLK kept in touch with me, calling up after a watching an episode to chat, pushing me to get more screen time."
I don't personally criticize Nichelle. I find it slightly humorous how much the story has changed however, but I do find most thing's along those lines funny anyway. I personally believe that Nichelle is telling the truth and the story has probably changed over the years due to actor's being exposed to many great people and renowed people and perhaps having to focus their memory on stuff like scripts.

I do think Nichelle met MLK and I do think that he was impressed with the show and how it depicted hope for equality. Even if Trek was set in the future it still showed that racial equality would happen eventually. You can't count out the impact that the show had on civil rights at the time either. Many episodes dealt with racial issues and conflict, but they also delivered solutions and compromises. LTBYLB probably delivers the best example when Kirk and Spock are baffled by Bele's statement that Lokai's people is white on the right side and that is why they are enemies.
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Old August 14 2011, 02:51 AM   #24
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Re: Nichelle Nichols Interview

Joker wrote: View Post
Smellincoffee wrote: View Post
... Nichelle Nichols about her role in Star Trek and its influence on society...
"Influence on society".

The usual circle-jerk crap, in other words.
It affected Whoopi and Mae Jemison.
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Old August 14 2011, 02:54 AM   #25
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Re: Nichelle Nichols Interview

Gary7 wrote: View Post
It never ceases to amaze me how many people on TrekBBS criticize her and suggest she made up the whole thing. It doesn't seem that likely... and really, what does it matter? So long as the story doesn't change drastically...
It's changed drastically.

Some of us are old enough to remember.
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Old August 14 2011, 05:55 AM   #26
Kamdan
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Re: Nichelle Nichols Interview

Would anyone can care to document the changes? I think she's simplified it over the years, but not told different versions. Also, when was it first told publicly?
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Old August 14 2011, 06:13 AM   #27
Gary7
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Re: Nichelle Nichols Interview

Dennis wrote: View Post
It's changed drastically.

Some of us are old enough to remember.
It has? Well... details, then. And cite your sources. I'm curious to know and get all the ambiguity out of the way.
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Old August 14 2011, 07:16 AM   #28
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Re: Nichelle Nichols Interview

Gary7 wrote: View Post
Dennis wrote: View Post
It's changed drastically.

Some of us are old enough to remember.
It has? Well... details, then. And cite your sources. I'm curious to know and get all the ambiguity out of the way.
Several of us on this board have been trying to locate old interviews with Nichelle where the MLK story starts. Like Dennis, I recall it starting with "what would MLK do" and evolving from that, but I'm not satisfied with memory alone, which is why I'm trying to find cite-able sources.
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Old August 14 2011, 07:25 AM   #29
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Re: Nichelle Nichols Interview

Yes, I also move that we try to get to the bottom of this.

My recollection of what I first heard, in an interview with her televised sometime during the 80's, where and when I do not know, was of her saying that King personally asked her not to quit at the end of the first season. Whether he allegedly asked her over the phone, or in the same room in person, I won't swear to.

When I first heard allegations that it was an evolving tall tale, I was mad.

So, yeah, I'd like to know.
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Old August 14 2011, 09:42 AM   #30
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Re: Nichelle Nichols Interview

Yeah I've noticed the running joke on this forum for a while that she keeps changing her story, and I'd like to see some cited sources as well. If it's true that she has changed it drastically over the decades, it's pretty funny, but if it's just a few minor details, that's not really a big deal.
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