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The First Televised Interracial Kiss That Made History and Changed the Entertainment Industry

Star Trek interracial kiss between Captain Kirk and Uhura

In November 1968, an episode of the popular science fiction series Star Trek aired on NBC, and made history when Captain Kirk (William Shatner) and the intelligent Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) shared the first on-air interracial kiss between a white man and a Black woman in the history of American television.
That kiss, however, was not the first interracial kiss on American television. In 1965, a passionate kiss had been shared between a white man (Robert Culp) and a beautiful Eurasian woman (France Nuyen) in the popular I Spy series. But Uhura and Kirk’s kiss was more iconic, and become a huge reference point for when people want to make the argument that art can push social and political boundaries.

Why was this kiss so important?

Across the country, Black and white people were still largely segregated and racism was still very prominent. It had been only a year since the Supreme Court had ruled that it was legal for couples of different races to get married. For these reasons, it was considered a rebellious act. But it opened the door of unity and equality that needed to be open.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once told Nichelle Nichols: “You have opened a door that must not be allowed to close…you changed the face of television forever... For the first time, the world sees us as we should be seen, as equals, as intelligent people.”