Star Trek’s Uhura
What kind of message is sent when future worlds are depicted without black people? Star Trek’s Nyota Uhura, a commander aboard the Starship Enterprise, was the first black character in a major role to be depicted in outer space. Uhura was played by Nichelle Nichols in the original series, and first appeared in 1966. In reality, it would take nearly 30 years for a black woman to make it to space – NASA astronaut Mae Jemison, in 1992.
In this episode, Uhura beams up Sun Ra, Martin Luther King, and the aforementioned Jemison, as narrator Little Simz tells us the true story of how King convinced Nichelle Nichols to stay on the show after the first season. Nichols would go on to appear in 66 episodes.