Nichelle Nichols
Kathy Hutchins /

Living legend, Nichelle Nichols has announced that she is retiring from the fan convention circuit, so if you’ve ever wanted to meet this trailblazer, time is running out.  (Her final con appearance will be in May 2020.)  ‘Star Trek’ is one of the most popular and enduring brands in science fiction, and was groundbreaking for a number of reasons, including how diverse its cast was, with the Enterprise manned by Scotsman Scotty, Russian Chekov, and Japanese Sulu.  But none made the same impact as Nichols’ Lt. Uhura, the ship’s communications officer, and one of the only black women to appear on television at that time, who was not a maid.


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Nichols was frustrated by how small her role on the show was and planned to quit until she was convinced by Martin Luther King, Jr. to remain on the show because of the impact it had on viewers across the country.  She is also known for sharing an interracial kiss with William Shatner in an episode that was blacked out in some places in the south.

Nichols plans to tell her story in a documentary called ‘Breaking Barriers’ with Atomic Network.  A crowd-funding effort has been launched on IndieGoGo campaign to finance the project.  Fans can contribute as little as $5, but with larger donations, prizes such as autographed photos, keychains, a special commemorative coin, tee shirts, and more are available.  For those with especially deep pockets, there is the opportunity to meet Nichols, visit the set (transportation not included), or attend her farewell banquet after her final con appearance.

From the webpage:

“We will be pitching to the networks to do a full-length documentary based on Nichelle’s life, struggles, relationship with Gene Roddenberry and subsequent super-stardom.  Tools are needed to create this pitch, so we plan on traveling to Neutral Zone Studios in Georgia, where we will shoot a short portion of the larger project. Nichelle will do a retelling of events directly from the bridge set of the Enterprise and several of you will be able to see it first-hand.”

In a press release, producer Sky Conway stated:

“We are hoping that supporters rally behind this incredible woman to help her compelling story to the screen, so she can continue to touch the hearts of millions.  Nichelle’s story is so important – not only to our generation, but all generations.”

There are many popular and important figures in the world of science fiction, but few have had the significant cultural impact of Nichol and her character, Uhura.

Will you help make this documentary a reality?