Black History Month: Nichelle Nichols
by, 31st January 2012 at 11:44 PM (238 Views)
It's (almost) Black History month. I plan to chronicle some figures in African-American history that you may not know much about. To begin the month, I present Nichelle Nichols:
Nichelle Nichols is most well-known for playing Nyota Uhura in the original Star Trek series. She was one of the first black women to appear in a major, non-stereotypical television role (most black woman were maids and servants). She faced racism from the staff on set though. She experienced harrassment from production crew, and her fan mail was withheld from her.
She eventually decided that she would leave the show after the first season. During an NAACP event she was told a fan wanted to talk to her. That fan was Martin Luther King Jr. He convinced her to stay on the show since she was an important role model for African-Americans, particularly for African-American women. She decided to stay.
She made history in Star Trek when Uhura kissed James Kirk (William Shatner). This is considered the first interracial kiss on American television (keep in mind that interracial marriage was still banned in many states at the time).
After Star Trek was cancelled, she continued acting and participated as a NASA recruiter to help recruit more people of color and women as astronauts.
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