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View Diary: Little House on the Prairie, Mad Men, Racism, and Television (52 comments)

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  •  She devleoped more as Star Trek progressed (3+ / 0-)

    In a book about Gene Roddenberry (can't remember if it was an autobiography or bio (authorized or not) there is a very telling story about her.

    Nichelle Nicholas at one time questioned her role.  She thought she just said "Hailing frequencies open" and not much else.  She though of leaving.

    One night at a NAACP function she noticed MLK in attendance.  She wanted to speak to him but was nervous.  MLK came to her table and told her hwo wonderful it was to see a stron black woman in a real role (and not a mammie sterotype one).  After that Nichelle went back to Gene and demanded an increased role.

    I believe I typed this as acurately as possible, if I can find this book in my storage I will repost with an exact quote from the book

    •  Found a quote from Nichelle on this (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ian Reifowitz

      Unhappy with how things were going with the show, and feeling tugged to hit the Broadway stage in New York, Nichols told Roddenberry she was leaving "Star Trek" at the end of the first season. He asked her to think about it over the weekend, during which she attended a National Association for the Advancement of Colored People fundraiser that resulted in a life-changing close encounter for her.

      "When I turned around, I was looking into the face of Dr. Martin Luther King, walking toward me with a big smile on his face," she said about the civil rights leader, who confessed to being a "Trekkie" and her biggest fan.

      When Nichols informed King that she was leaving "Star Trek," he adamantly urged her to stay. "He said, 'Don't you realize how important your presence, your character is? This is not a black role or a female role. You have the first nonstereotypical role on television. You have broken ground.'"

      "He added, 'Here we are marching, and there you are projecting where we're going. You cannot leave [the show]. Don't you understand what you mean?' I told him that when I would go on hiatus from the show, I could come and march with him and he said, 'No! You're an image for us. We look on that screen and we know where we're going.' It was like he was saying, 'Free at last, free at last!'"

    •  That meshes with what I remember. n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ian Reifowitz

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