January 20, 2013 5:30 pm

In Honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and an Unconfirmed Rumor

As Lieutenant Uhura, Nichelle Nichols helped destroy stereotypes and became a role model for people of color during the civil rights era — at least according to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Courtesy CBS/Paramount)

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. day tomorrow, join StarTalk Radio tonight as we celebrate the civil rights leader’s life by replaying astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson’s interview with Nichelle Nichols, Star Trek’s Lt. Uhura. In this first part of Neil’s interview with Nichelle, the pair discuss Star Trek and the impact the show had on the civil rights movement, including an amazing story about Nichelle and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Nichelle recounts for Neil how she told Gene Roddenberry she was going to quit the show to go to Broadway, only to have Dr. King, who called himself her biggest fan, convince her to remain on the show because of the importance of her role to the black community, his family, and to Dr. King himself.

If you’ve never heard Nichelle tell it, you’re missing out on a moving, emotional story. And even if you have, this retelling may just be one of the best versions… certainly that I’ve ever heard. (FYI: Nichelle Nichols has a website at http://www.uhura.com/)

Now, about that unconfirmed rumor. I heard (and please remember, they’re unconfirmed for a reason) that there just might be a StarTalk Live at the Bell House on Feb 7th.

My sources are dubious at best, and these things haven’t always turned out to be true. But just in case, I wanted to give you as much warning as possible to keep the evening open… and keep an eye on Bell House ticket sales. Remember that last time, the show sold out in under an hour.

That’s if for now. Keep Looking Up!

–Jeffrey Simons

  • Regina Gradess

    This was one of the most moving and profound interviews I’ve heard in quite a while. The lesson I took away was that the culture can be changed – through “entertainment”. Both for the positive as in Star Trek and for the negative as well. Hurray for Nichelle Nichols for sharing memories with us. She is an angel in our lives.

  • I completely agree with Regina, “This was one of the most moving and profound interviews I’ve heard in quite a while.” I’m speechless.