Nichelle Nichols had become an icon for playing Uhura in the original Star Trek, but she was very close to quitting the show after the first season. She reveals in a documentary called From the Bridge that it was Martin Luther King himself who asked her to stay on the show.
"I gave my resignation to Gene Roddenberry to leave Star Trek after the first season. I wanted to go to Broadway. I found myself at an NAACP event, and someone told me that one my fans was there and wanted to meet me. I said sure, thinking it was a Trekkie, then from across the room, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. comes walking toward me with a big grin on his face."
He told me that he was my biggest fan, and he asked me to please stay on the show, and that I was a role model to black children and women all across America. He said it was one of the only shows that he and his wife Coretta would allow their children to stay up late at night and watch. He told me I couldn't leave; that I was part of history."
I understood right then and there what it meant to be a role model."
There's actually more to the story, but you'll have to watch the documentary to find out.
Star Trek has gone to push boundaries when it came to television, and a lot of people still applaud Gene Roddenberry for his optimistic view of the future. The show was the first to feature an interracial kiss—which Nichols herself participated in—and at the height of the Cold War, they decided to add a Russian character, Chekov, to the main cast.
Trek still has a strong following today, and the role of Uhura has already been passed on to Zoe Saldana in J.J. Abrams' reboot of the show. Even if she isn't playing the role anymore, Nichols is still celebrated as an icon for playing Uhura on Trek.
No release date has been set for the documentary From the Bridge, but you can check out the trailer here:
Source: Yahoo! Entertainment