Nichelle Nichols, black heroine of “Star Trek”, is dead

African-American actress Nichelle Nichols, known for her high-profile pioneering role in the cult series star trek, died overnight from Saturday to Sunday at the age of 89, his family announced in a statement on Sunday. “Last night my mother Nichelle Nichols passed away of natural causes,” her son Kyle told the actress’ official website. “His life was well lived and was a role model for all of us.” A family spokesperson said the actress died in Silver City, New Mexico, where she lived with her son.

This former dancer and singer who played in the 1960s science fiction series Lieutenant Nyota Uhura, an officer of African origins and fluent in Swahili, had quickly become an icon of civil rights.

A first in the history of American television

Her role as a high-ranking black woman had earned her the admiration of Martin Luther King, assassinated in 1968, who had asked her not to leave star trek as she had planned, telling him that it was the only series he allowed his children to watch, she confided.

In 1968, when William Shatner, who played the famous Captain Kirk, and Nichelle Nichols kissed, it was the first kiss between a white person and a person of color on American television.

In the 1970s, Nichelle Nichols made a video to help NASA recruit astronauts, especially women and minorities.

An eclectic career

Born on December 28, 1932 in Chicago, Grace Dell Nichols began her career at the age of 14 as a dancer and singer with the Duke Ellington Orchestra. Best known for her role in the first series star trekshe had also danced with Sammy Davis Jr. in Porgy and Bessacted in other television series and recorded two albums.

She also played Uhura, a name derived from the Swahili word “Freedom,” in the first six Star Trek films.

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