BLACK HISTORY MONTH/NICHELLE NICHOLS
Like any other genre of "on screen" entertainment, the history of science fiction is riddled with bias. In the past, it was extremely rare for woman to be featured in science fiction properties. Black Women even more so. Broadly speaking, when women broke through, the sci-fi roles that they were cast in included them as slaves, servants, or damsels.
Mini skirt aside, Nichelle Nichols role in the original Star Trek series broke barriers. No doubt, Star Trek was not perfect by our 2021 standards of social equity, but, it was the most progressive show on television during its' time. The show debuted in 1966. One year after "The Voting Rights Act" was signed.
It's easy to satirize her duties aboard the Starship Enterprise. It appeared that she was often simply repeating what the ships computer had already stated. However, in her role as Lieutenant Uhura, despite how one may feel about the necessity of a communications officer, she exuded the kind of elegance, intelligence, and cultural self-awareness that black woman of that era had long been waiting for.