Star Trek’s Importance and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Why ‘Star Trek’ was so important to Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. convinced Nichelle Nichols to not leave Star Trek because her portrayal of Lt. Uhura represented in pop culture what the civil rights movement was fighting for.

Word/language geek trivia: Uhura is derived from the Swahili word uhuru, which means “freedom.” Uhuru was also the title of a book Nichols had with her the day she read for the part.

So much about humanity many of us learned from Star Trek, without realizing the importance of it as children. I have no doubt my love for sci-fi, specifically stories that take place in the future, is because that is often the only place where everyone is truly equal. Star Trek showed us how things should be, and gave us hope.

It also highlights the importance of positive role models in pop culture and positions of leadership. Children learn, without knowing what they are learning, from watching and observing. Their perception of the world, its possibilities, and their role/place in it is influenced by what they see.

I do not envy the job parents have of teaching their children that while the leader of our country says and does the things he says and does, it is not ok for them or anyone else to behave in that manner.


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