Nichelle Nichols, best known as Star Trek’s Uhura, participated in a Reddit AMA on Thursday, and in it she clarified the details behind her famous Martin Luther King Jr. story. Here’s how it goes: At one point in her career, Nichols was considering leaving Star Trek for another role, as well as a career on Broadway. King convinced her to do otherwise because her turn as Uhura was showcasing the first black woman on TV in a non-stereotypical role. King said something along the lines of, “Nichelle, whether you like it or not, you have become a symbol. If you leave, they can replace you with a blonde-haired white girl, and it will be like you were never there. What you’ve accomplished, for all of us, will only be real if you stay,” Nichols recalled. “That got me thinking about how it would look for fans of color around the country if they saw me leave. I saw that this was bigger than just me.”
She noted that she trusted King, stayed on the show, and never looked back — and in case you were wondering what the other role was, she has “promised them I wouldn’t say so that whoever did get the role didn’t feel they were second to anyone.” She is, however, into the idea of a Star Trek musical. The AMA also includes gems about Duke Ellington, Whoopi Goldberg, NASA, and Gene Roddenberry. Catch the whole session here.