How Martin Luther King Jr. Transformed Nichelle Nichols and Star Trek

Nichelle Nichols was cast in the role of Communications Officer Uhura on the original TV series “Star Trek” in 1966. But a routine casting decision it was not, as Nichols overnight became an icon and role model. But it took a chance meeting with a powerful and charismatic man to convince her of her own stature.

Photo by Alan Light

Nichols was a show business veteran by the time Gene Roddenberry selected her for “Star Trek.” So just one year into her journey where “no man had gone before,” Nichols was anxious to try something else new.

Then she met a fan who changed her mind and changed her life.

Today is Martin Luther King Jr Day in the U.S., so today, the story of how Dr. King changed Nichelle Nichols’s life and career, and even the very direction that “Star Trek” took. It’s a story Nichols told in her 1994 memoir Beyond Uhura. That’s when I met her.

So here now, from 1994, Nichelle Nichols.

Nichelle Nichol cied in 2022 at age 89.

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