Star Trek’s Nichelle Nichols celebrates eighty four years of life on the bridge today.
The entire cast of Star Trek: The Original Series is iconic, but even among giants, like William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, Nichelle Nichols stands out. Nichols is of course best known for playing Lt. Uhura on Star Trek: The Original Series. That’s just Lt. Uhura, Nyota of course wasn’t added until the 2009 Star Trek reboot.
Nichols role on Star Trek was important because it allowed African Americans to be represented in an important role in a television series. Before Star Trek African Americans were rarely seen in major roles, and were often portrayed as servants or unskilled labor. Uhura changed that.
Check out what LeVar Burton had to say about the impact Uhura had on him. He starts talking about Nichelle Nichols at the 2:40 mark.
In fact Nichelle’s impact on America was so powerful that when she wanted to leave Star Trek and return to Broadway Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. himself asked her not to do it.
When Dr. King says he’s your biggest fan you certianly can’t leave the show.
The legacy of the entire Star Trek: The Original Series cast is almost hard to comprehend. Besides starting what I think is the greatest science fiction franchise in history, they also changed television itself.
Before Star Trek science fiction was considered a genre for children, Star Trek proved however that science fiction could be more. Star Trek took science fiction and made it a vehicle to tell important stories about humanity and life.
So for everything she did in Star Trek as Uhura and more we say happy birthday to the incomparable Nichelle Nichols!
So what do you think? Do you have a favorite Nichelle Nichols moment? Share it with us on Facebook or in the comments below.