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In 1968 America, a country where interracial marriage had been legal nationwide for only a matter of months, the idea of romance between the races was still a controversial proposition. That made it all the more shocking when, in November of that year, William Shatner, a white man, kissed Nichelle Nichols, a black woman on the sci-fi show “Star Trek.” In this episode, Phillip discusses why the racial climate of 1968 made an interracial kiss seem so far-fetched that it caused a stir even when it took place on a show set centuries in the future with historian Matthew Delmont of Arizona State University. Delmont’s connection to the topic is more than academic – his parents, one white, one black, met in 1968. Warning: This episode contains a racial slur.

Read more in this accompanying article from Matthew Delmont: TV’s first interracial kiss launched a lifelong career in activism

And find out about other aspects of 1968 in other articles from The Conversation and our global sister sites on our website.

Music on this episode: “And never come back” by Soft and Furious, found on, licensed under CC0 1

Archival Audio: Star Trek_Kirk & Uhura kiss

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1/8) Movie CLIP - Pleased to Meet You (1967) HD

Supreme Court Clips - Loving v. Virginia - interracial marriage

Malcolm X in Speaks in Solidarity With the School Boycotts in NYC (1964)

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