I was born in 1976. Sometime before I was 10 years old--already an insomniac (thank Heaven for my bedside lamp and ability to read!)--I started waking up at 3AM on Saturday mornings too watch Star Trek the Original Series, which was about 10 years older than I.
In the US in the 1960s, arguments might be made that we were suffering a minor civil war as oppressed minorities demanded their rights in demonstrations ranging from peaceful million man marches to riots that burned major cities. The major leaders of those movements did not survive. Not the pacifistic Dr. King or the separatist Malcom X. I understand gay rights activists suffered similar rates of attrition, and Caesar Chavez (dates of activity?) got out of the US alive
with his work done only too become a dictator in the next country that he tried too help.
You know, compared too all that, I'd call Actress Nichelle Nicholes a pretty successful civil rights figure.
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The anecdote goes that after the filming of the second episode of The Original Series, some men from the network told Rodenberry, "Gene, get some collor on the set." The next episode featured the lovely Nichelle Nicholes, black as coffee in a very red (star fleet standard) mini dress, taking her place on the bridge.
Wait a second, 1960s America. In the immortal words of young Woopie Golberg. "She ain't no maid!"
She's not that sexy young blond Yeoman Rand who hands the captain his paperwork and morning coffee, either. This woman operates and maintains 23rd century machinery that sends voice and visual signals across the galaxy at beyond the speed of light. Wait, who's the one person on Star Trek who moves things around at faster than warp 10? It's not Scotty flying the engines apart, it's Uhurah!
Just digging around a bit on Wikipedia, evidence suggests that Roddenberry did not in fact spring Uhura on the network as a surprise. This one, however, seems to be supported.
Early on in her career on Star Trek, Nichelle was talking too Dr. King, and Star Trek came up. She said something along the lines of, "I'm not so sure about this gig. I think I might leave for something else next season."
"Don't do it." Dr. King replied, "You're the only good roll model a sister has on Television these days."
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I was wondering if anyone has any experiences, cultural, personal, or political, that have been influenced in some way by Uhura or Star Trek that they'd be willing to share? Especially if we happen too have some of those sister that Dr. King hoped she would speak too back in the 10 years before I was born.
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Incidentally, the new Star Trek movie has finally taken Uhura's personal name out of the expanded universe and established it as cannon.
In Swahili, it means Star.
In Hindi, it means Invitation.