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- I told Gene after the end of the first season that I would not be returning to the show — that I wanted to return to my first love, which is musical theatre, but I didn’t know that meeting a Star Trek fan would change my life.
I was told a fan wanted to meet me, and I turned and looked into the face of Dr. Martin Luther King — I was breathless. He said, "Yes, I'm the Trekker — I'm a Star Trek fan." And he told me that Star Trek was one of the only shows that his wife Coretta and he would allow their little children to stay up and watch. I thanked him — and I told him I was leaving the show. All the smile came off his face and he said: "You can’t do that." He said "Don’t you understand that for the first time, we’re seen as we should be seen? You don’t have a Black role — you have an equal role."
And on I went back to work on Monday morning. I went to Gene’s office and told him what had happened over the weekend. And he said, "Welcome home. We have a lot of work to do."
- Star Trek represented, and still does represent, the future we can have, a future that is beyond the petty squabbles we are dealing with here on Earth, now as much as ever, and are able to devote ourselves to the betterment of all human kind by doing what we do so well: explore. This kind of a future isn't impossible — and we need to all rethink our priorities to really bring that vision to life.
- Gene's whole vision was that minorities weren't on set because we were minorities, we were on set because in the future our diverse world would all be working together as equals. I understand that everyone needs to see role models that can inspire them and talk to them and represent them, but I believe we need to move to a future that transcends race, gender, or anything else. We're all people.
- As quoted in "Uhura Fest: 'Star Trek' legend Nichelle Nichols talks Wizard World Philly and transcending race" by Jerome Maida, The Philadelphia Enquirer (29 May 2017)
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