Nichelle Nichols of Star Trek is Newest BearBuddys Fan
Here’s us with our newest friend, Nichelle Nichols. She’s a famous actress from the TV
show and movies of “Star Trek”, where she played a character called Lt. Uhura,
(uhura means “peace” in Swahili, bet you didn’t know that!) She was the
Communications Officer on the Starship Enterprise, along with her friends and
shipmates Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, Dr. McCoy, Sulu and Checkov, and Scotty, who was always complaining his motors couldn’t take any more, but they always did. (Just shows what you can do if you really put your mind to it.)
We met Miss Nichols over the holidays and she was really nice. She kind of smooched
with Major Ursus a bit. (I guess because they’re closer in age now, but she really liked Leander, too. Everybody likes Leander!). Nichelle Nichols is a hero to a lot of people because she was the first African-American woman to be on television in a position of authority and not a maid or servant to someone. She gave a lot of people the idea that they could be just like everyone else in the world, except she had to go into space to do it. She was also the first girl with dark skin to smooch a boy with white skin on TV, which
upset a lot of people, then, but now pretty much everybody does it. Now people
get upset when boys smooch boys on TV. They’ll get over it, but I don’t think it will catch on.
Most people know Nichelle for her time in pretend space, but maybe you didn’t know that she played a real important part in real space exploration science. Way back in 1977 (before Leander was born), the NASA Space Shuttle program was getting started. The first Space Shuttle was named “Enterprise”, because a bunch of fans of the TV show wrote in. It was going to be named “The Constitution” after the first ship in the American navy (you can still visit it in Boston harbor), but the NASA people listen to letters. Especially when people write them to congress. But NASA had a problem. They didn’t have enough women and minorities going to space. In the 1960s there were 13 women who wanted to be astronauts, but that didn’t work out. NASA came to Ms. Nichols because she was famous and asked if she would help them recruit girls and minorities to join the space astronaut program. Because of the way America had been before, a lot of people from other races and backgrounds didn’t think they were welcome in space, but the first women and black astronauts and Asian and Hispanic astronauts went into space because Nichelle Nichols they should. She said to them if someone like her could go where no-one like her had gone before, they could too. Did you know she sings, too!
The BearBuddys know about space because of their movie Bears in Space and the Goldilocks Planet. Have you seen it?