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Old January 20 2014, 09:50 PM   #1
JD5000
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Martin Luther King, Jr Was A Trekkie

From an interview with Nichelle Nichols...link to full text here.

***

Ms. NICHOLS: I went in to tell Gene Roddenberry that I was leaving after the first season, and he was very upset about it. And he said, take the weekend and think about what I am trying to achieve here in this show. You're an integral part and very important to it. And so I said, yes, I would. And that - on Saturday night, I went to an NAACP fundraiser, I believe it was, in Beverly Hills. And one of the promoters came over to me and said, Ms. Nichols, there's someone who would like to meet you. He says he is your greatest fan.
And I'm thinking a Trekker, you know. And I turn, and before I could get up, I looked across the way and there was the face of Dr. Martin Luther King smiling at me and walking toward me. And he started laughing. By the time he reached me, he said, yes, Ms. Nichols, I am your greatest fan. I am that Trekkie.


Ms. NICHOLS: And I was speechless. He complimented me on the manner in which I'd created the character. I thanked him, and I think I said something like, Dr. King, I wish I could be out there marching with you. He said, no, no, no. No, you don't understand. We don't need you on the - to march. You are marching. You are reflecting what we are fighting for. So, I said to him, thank you so much. And I'm going to miss my co-stars.
And his face got very, very serious. And he said, what are you talking about? And I said, well, I told Gene just yesterday that I'm going to leave the show after the first year because I've been offered - and he stopped me and said: You cannot do that. And I was stunned. He said, don't you understand what this man has achieved? For the first time, we are being seen the world over as we should be seen. He says, do you understand that this is the only show that my wife Coretta and I will allow our little children to stay up and watch. I was speechless.


MARTIN: Ms. Nichols, I have to tell you, the same was true in our house. I mean we would run and our parents would literally call and say look, look, you know, she's on.


Ms. NICHOLS: Yes. Yes.


MARTIN: But that's kind of a heavy responsibility, though. I do have to ask you about that. I mean the fact is you did put a side some of your own personal dreams to stay in that role.


Ms. NICHOLS: Yes. Yes. Well, you know...


MARTIN: And then you did three movies. And how does that sit with you now?


Ms. NICHOLS: Well, it's interesting that you said, you know, you would run through the house and look. I met Whoopi Goldberg when Gene was doing The Next Generation and she had told me when Star Trek came on she was nine years old and she said she turned the TV on and saw me and ran through the house screaming: Come quick, come quick. Theres a black lady on TV and she ain't no maid.


Ms. NICHOLS: And that did something to my heart, so I knew that I had made the right decision, because as Dr. King said, you have been chosen.



***
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Old January 21 2014, 09:42 AM   #2
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Re: Martin Luther King, Jr Was A Trekkie

And this careworn story is supposed to be new to us on a board devoted to Star Trek?

Hope you had a meaningful MLK Jr. Day.
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Old January 21 2014, 11:12 AM   #3
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Re: Martin Luther King, Jr Was A Trekkie

It makes me sad that this story may not be true, cause it really is a great story.
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Old January 21 2014, 03:30 PM   #4
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Re: Martin Luther King, Jr Was A Trekkie

Unfortunately, all the "evidence" points to this story being untrue, given how dramatically she has changed it over the years.
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Old January 21 2014, 04:11 PM   #5
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Re: Martin Luther King, Jr Was A Trekkie

I want the story to be true!
Is it possible it is true?
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Old January 21 2014, 05:18 PM   #6
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Re: Martin Luther King, Jr Was A Trekkie

I'm gonna go ahead and believe it's true, you do whatever you want.
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Old January 21 2014, 05:29 PM   #7
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Re: Martin Luther King, Jr Was A Trekkie

So there's a well-documented picture of MLK playing pool. I'd really love to see a photo of him playing 3-D chess.
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Old January 21 2014, 06:29 PM   #8
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Re: Martin Luther King, Jr Was A Trekkie

CoveTom wrote: View Post
Unfortunately, all the "evidence" points to this story being untrue, given how dramatically she has changed it over the years.

a story changing over forty plus years isn't an indication of there being no truth there, just that it's been embellished for dramatic purposes, or that Human memory is obviously faulty. The story may be made up, but "it's changed over the years" doesn't automatically point to "it's not true."
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Old January 21 2014, 06:47 PM   #9
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Re: Martin Luther King, Jr Was A Trekkie

Hell yeah, sonak.

Regardless of whether this story is 100%, 50%, or 0% true, Nichelle Nichols was an important person during the civil rights movement of the 60's. Put into context, her role as Uhura brought hope to African-Americans and women during a time when inequality for both of those demographics was the norm.
Even if the story isn't true, it might as well be.
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Old January 21 2014, 06:53 PM   #10
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Re: Martin Luther King, Jr Was A Trekkie

I'm going to go ahead and mention that I would SWEAR that I have seen a picture of MLK on the TOS bridge set. And also that I can't find it through a Google image search, which casts doubt on the veracity of my memory. So make of that what you will.
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Old January 21 2014, 07:32 PM   #11
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Re: Martin Luther King, Jr Was A Trekkie

When I first saw the thread title out of the corner of my eye,
I thought the word trekkie was the word tribble.

Would have totally changed the discussion now wouldn't it?

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Old January 21 2014, 07:41 PM   #12
JD5000
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Re: Martin Luther King, Jr Was A Trekkie

He did have a beard, but seems to have kept it well-trimmed. MLK may have reproduced a lot, but nowhere near Tribble-level.
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Old January 21 2014, 08:33 PM   #13
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Re: Martin Luther King, Jr Was A Trekkie

JD5000 wrote: View Post
I'm gonna go ahead and believe it's true, you do whatever you want.
If the actual details are important to you, Nichols has provided several versions of the story to choose from. Might as well pick the one you like best!
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Old January 21 2014, 08:55 PM   #14
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Re: Martin Luther King, Jr Was A Trekkie

Maybe I'm on the wrong track, but I thought that was the purpose of the internet.
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Old January 21 2014, 09:35 PM   #15
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Re: Martin Luther King, Jr Was A Trekkie

I posted this some years ago, but just re the topic:

Nichols recollects that during a promotional trip to Memphis, an assistant told her that a fan wanted to meet her.
Listverse: 10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Star Trek

The chance encounter occurred at an NAACP fund-raiser held the day after Nichols…turned in her resignation.
Times Daily/Friday, Dec. 13, 1996

At one of her regular meetings with with civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. -- she helped at fund raisers and he was her mentor--she told him she was thinking of quitting.
Anchorage Daily News - Aug 17, 1989, p. 21

"[MLK] was a close friend, and he happened to be a big Star Trek fan," she says…
The Afro American, Dec. 8, 1979

Did some searching via Google News and Archives and hit the stories above. They're not consistent in their details ("chance encounter" vs. "regular meetings"), but they do all claim she met him, going back to at least 1979. If there are indeed printed stories in which she says it was a phone call or something else, I suspect it'd be pre-TMP.
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