Nichelle Nichols has a lot to say about her life as Lt. Nyota Uhura on television’s Star Trek.
Star Trek was launched in 1966. During that time the Civil Rights movement had really began to take hold. Martin Luther King Junior was leading a boycott of the Alabama bus system and southern blacks were beginning to see some level of change.
When Nichols took the role on Star Trek she had no idea the level of history she was making for a black women in Hollywood.
Nichols told the Huffington Post,
“It didn’t hit me at the time until somebody told me. I splashed onto the TV screen at a propitious historical moment. Black people were marching all over the South. Dr. King was leading people to freedom, and here I was, in the 23rd century, fourth in command of the Enterprise.”
Nichols went on to tell the HuffPost what was going on in the country when she took the role,
“Oh, man, there were parts of the South that wouldn’t show ‘Star Trek’ because this was an African American woman in a powerful position, and she wasn’t a maid or tap dancer.”
While she was filming episodes of Star Trek she said she never faced any adversity on set but she did when she was forced to use a separate gate from the white actors.
“That’s right. There were instances where I was turned away from entering the studio at the walk-on gate, and I had to go all the way around to the front gate, sign-in and come back. A guard on the set told me I had no right being there — that they had replaced a blue-eyed blonde with me. I went through crap, man. Racism was alive and rampant there. Some people said I wasn’t good enough, saying things like, ‘I don’t know how you got this role.’ And they kept waiting for me to complain and raise hell about it, but I decided to ignore it. I never went to Gene [Roddenberry] about it.”
She even said that the show photographer was a racist on the set.
But it all change3d when she had the first interracial kiss ever with Captain Kirk. This had never been seen before on American Television sets.
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Watch an interview with Nichelle Nichols