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If Martin Luther King Jr. and Gene Roddenberry had not been able to persuade Nichelle Nichols to stay on "Star Trek" and continue her role as the fictional communications officer Lt. Nyota Uhura, things could have turned out differently. We might not have people inspired by "Star Trek" to give us the technology that has improved our lives or the beautiful pictures from the Hubble Space Telescope or the Mars pictures of the surface.

It happened because King and Roddenberry explained that "Star Trek" was more than another science fiction TV show, it showed a future where people of all races worked together for a positive purpose.

It took King's intervention to explain that to her. When Nichols told Roddenberry what King told her, his comment was "Thank God for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. someone understands what I am trying to accomplish," and he cried.

So we should thank King, who tried to improve the human condition, and Roddenberry, who showed us how to improve the human condition that inspired an actress, and Nichols who helped inspire others to continue to "Boldly go where no man or woman has gone before."

Kilton Holmes, Baraboo