“Dr. King was a Star Trek fan…” Nichelle Nichols (AKA Lt. Uhura)
People often wonder why Alveda King, a licensed minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, often refers to Star Trek and other “sci-fi” films, movies, television projects, music projects, etcetera to illustrate points. My nephew, Derek Barber King, Jr. launched his television ministry recently, citing the film “The Matrix” to make a point about reality. His text was powerfully presented with scriptures from The Holy Bible, and his Matrix and reality analogy fit in with his message.
Young Derek and I are maybe “chips off the old block.” When I was a little girl, and a teenager, my dad, Rev. A. D. Williams King, often took the family to the movies to see Superman, Hercules, and other fantasy films. My dad was an avid comic book collector. When Star Trek and The Jetsons came out in the mid-1960’s, I remember saying that one day, everything we saw on screen would happen in real life one day. For instance, the Jetsons’ moving sidewalk is in almost every airport nowadays. Captain Kirk’s communicator became a flip cell phone. Lt. Uhura’s earpiece is a Bluetooth, and her communications panel is now a GPS system.
I often cite a classic Star Trek episode in my lectures, the one where a race of beings was in danger of annihilation because of a skin color battle. Acts 17:28 says that we are one blood. That means that we are really one human race. In one of my favorite Star Trek shows, there were two “races” on one planet. They were identical except one group was black on one side and white on one side And the other group was white on one side and black On one side. They fought over eugenics and genocide, with one group trying to totally annihilate the other group.
In yet another Star Trek episode, Captain Kirk led the humans and His arch enemy led his “race.” They were losing to a common enemy until they learned to put their differences aside. There is much to be learned in living together as one race of humans in what my Uncle, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., my father, Rev. A. D. King and those in the 20th Century Civil Rights Movement termed “The Beloved Community.”
My Uncle, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. also saw the value of Lt. Uhura’s role in terms of race relations. Nichelle Nichols, who gave us the first role of Lt. Uhura on Star Trek, considered quitting Star Trek midway through its first season, when her character had been given little to do beyond perpetually opening hailing frequencies. In one interview, she famously described Uhura as “a glorified telephone operator in space”. Then, at a civil rights protest, she met Martin Luther King Jr. — who told her that he was a big fan of Star Trek. According to Nichols, when she told King she was thinking of quitting the show, he was shocked. “Don’t you know you have the first non-stereotypical role in television?” she recalls King saying. “For the first time the world will see us as we should be seen — people of quality in the future. You created a role with dignity and beauty and grace and intelligence. You’re not just a role model for our children, but for people who don’t look like us to see us for the first time as equals.”
In the more recent release of Star Trek, Lt. Uhura is recognized as a talented, brilliant officer, ranking top of her graduating class. Because Nichelle Nichols took us where no Black woman had gone before, our young women today have a classic role model that has bridged the generation gap in a positive manner.
What does all of this have to do with the prolife movement, my critics ask? Well, people respond to illustrations and anecdotes. It just so happens that Star Trek was part of my reality when I was growing up, so it is not so strange that I can find relevant comparisons to use in my talks.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. The
Negro cannot win if he is willing to sacrifice his children
For immediate personal comfort and safety.” Dr. Martin
Luther King, Jr.
How can the dream survive if we murder our children? We must value marriage between one man and one woman, purity in all sexual relationships, procreative reproductive health, and a biblical world view.” Dr. Alveda C. King, Post Abortive Mother, Minister, Activist
Beaming off till next time…