On 22nd of November 1968 US TV audiences saw the first inter- racial kiss beamed straight into their living rooms.
The Star Trek episode ‘Plato’s Children’ is a weird one (to say the least) but the historical significance of the kiss between Captain James T. Kirk and Lieutenant Uhura should not be underplayed.
1968 was a year of intense turmoil – not only in the USA. Presidential candidate Bobby Kennedy and civil rights leader Martin Luther King were assassinated. The Vietnam war had caused immense casualties and was growing deeply unpopular. Across Europe students had led protests and the Prague Spring gave hope to the people of Czechoslovakia to be later crushed by Soviet armed forces.
The policies of apartheid (state enforced racial segregation) were pursued with vigour in South Africa and Rhodesia.
And here was the hero of the Starship Enterprise kissing one of his officers . Popular culture has a pivotal role in promoting equality and breaking down societal barriers. Star Trek, The Original Series, with its hopes for a better future influenced millions of TV viewers not only on that one night but in every household it was beamed into, for generations.
You can read more about Nichelle Nichols, Lieutenant Uhura, by clicking on this link: Smithsonian Magazine