On July 30th, 2022, the world lost Nichelle Nichols. Most people knew her for her inspiring portrayal of Lt. Nyota Uhura in “Star Trek”. Despite this, her contribution to the world goes beyond creating a beloved character. She inspired generations of women of color to follow their dreams.
Career in Entertainment
She was born on December 28th 1932 near Chicago. At the tender age of 15, she shared the stage with the great Duke Ellington. After appearing in several musicals, she met Gene Roddenberry, when she guest starred in “The Lieutenant”. She was subsequently cast in “Star Trek”.
Despite portraying a bridge officer, Nichelle Nichols felt her role was lacking depth. After the first season, she wanted to leave the show. A chance meeting with Martin Luther King, who was a fan of the show, made her reconsider. In a time when most women of color on TV portrayed maids or cleaners, she played a bridge officer and an accomplished professional. Seeing her in this role gave young girls a positive outlook for the future and inspired them. Dr. King reiterated this and convinced her to stay on the show. She would later reprise the role in several movies and animated series.
She also appeared in shows like “Heroes”, “Futurama” and “The Young and The Restless” (She received a Daytime Emmy nomination for this show).
As she was also an accomplished singer and released two music albums.
Working for NASA
After her work in Star Trek, Nichelle Nichols took the next step to continue to inspire people. She volunteered for a special NASA project. The goal was to increase diversity at NASA. There she helped recruit people belonging to minorities. Among those whom she helped recruit were the first American female astronaut (Dr. Sally Ride, who was also LGBT) and the first African American (Guion Bluford). She was with NASA from 1977 to 2015.
It is impossible to do this remarkable woman justice with a small article. I only hope I could give you a glimpse of who she was. There is a saying that we die twice. Once when we die, and the second time when the last person who remembers us dies. If that is the case, Nichelle Nichols will never die, as the books of space exploration will always remember her and how she broke down boundaries.
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Maria is our resident nerd and passionate about all things fantasy and science fiction. She is Spanish and grew up in Germany, which is why she is a native speaker of both languages. Becoming a fantasy writer was only logical to combine her skills and passions. In addition, she is working on her English degree and loves to play tennis and dance Salsa. She is currently writing her first novel and will mainly be covering Star Wars, Star Trek and Shadow & Bone.