Friday, April 24, 2015

Dear Lt Uhura

Lt Uhura,
Star Ship Enterprise,
Space, the final frontier
C/o Gene Rodenberry

Dear Lt Uhura,

You are a hero! The first woman in space!

What an honour it is to be addressing you!

The Star Ship Enterprise’s five-year mission was to “boldly go where no man had gone before.” Something about those lines used to give me the impression that it was an all-boys club. But you broke that impression.

You were quite something in your day. I read somewhere that Oprah, as a young girl, saw you in the series on TV, and remarked to her father, “I just saw a black woman on television, and she ain’t no maid.” No, you were a communications officer, highly respected and very good at your job.

When you planned to leave the series, Martin Luther King Jr himself told you that you should stick around. Apparently he was pleased with the show’s vision of a future of racial harmony, cooperation and equality. In fact, Uhuru is freedom in Swahili. There couldn’t have been a bigger endorsement than that, could there?

It couldn’t have been easy to spend endless years on that ship with a bunch of guys who couldn’t always have been on their best behaviour, particularly when we switched off our televisions and went our ways. Some of them must have been rude and obnoxious and wondered what you were doing, sharing space with them. That too on the deck where the action was, not in the ship mess, where action of another kind was unfolding. 

I’m sure you faced discrimination, and harassment, but you must have tackled it in your own inimitable manner, because the next time we were back in front of the box, you were in control of yourself and no one could sass you around.

How many barriers you demolished when you sailed around the universe! Not only were you a woman, but you were an African American woman. And you held your own not only against your own compatriots, and, shall I say, other homo sapiens, but also against aliens from other planets, whenever they happened to be beamed down on to the Star Ship Enterprise. 

You were quick on your feet, and the sight of inimical aliens poised for attack never fazed you. You were able to think of ways to hoodwink those aliens and rescue the ship safely.

You have an intensely curious mind, and are always seeking to know more about other worlds, in keeping with the Enterprise mission. You were very competent, that was something nobody could deny, assuring your place in the control room of the Enterprise. And so in being who you were, you made a strong case for both your race and gender. 

You were a pioneer.

Your romance with Mr Spock, sigh, how good you two were together. One time, he tenderly called you Nyota, your first name, which means star in Swahili. The joke was that Captain Kirk, our heartthrob in those days, tried hard to find out your first name and was flummoxed when he heard Mr Spock call you.


  1. I vaguely remember her. But what a wonderful thought you have put into this.

  2. I wasn't a Trekkie when the series was on, too busy studying to watch TV, but saw the episodes in reruns. She was quite classy for the show.

  3. Nichelle Nichols, who played Lt. Uhura, is doing commercials for "Star Trek" on MeTV, the vintage TV network that runs the show. She's still beautiful. I was never a fan, but her being on the show was groundbreaking for the mid-1960's, especially when she and Kirk kissed. I understand it was the first interracial kiss on TV.

    John Holton
    Blogging from A to Z 2015 Cohost
    The Sound of One Hand Typing

  4. Great post... i never watched the show...but guess she was a hero to many like us who,d want to go boldly where men have been...

  5. Star Trek was one of my favourite shows. We recently had reruns here and I enjoyed them just the same as I did way back then.

  6. Ah! quite classy she was! and the show was so much talked about amongst friends! nice choice of U!

  7. I've always loved Star Trek, and like a commenter above mentioned, she shared the first interracial kiss on TV with Kirk. Very impressive. Breaking barriers as you say. Yes, she was as important to the crew as anyone else. Without her, communication with other aliens would/could break down. Great choice for the letter U.

  8. A perfect tribute on her struggle and conquering the world. I never watched her and high time to do so:)



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