Orlando Filmmakers Pay Tribute to the Late Nichelle Nichols

The Orlando-based production team for “Woman in Motion” honors the trailblazing actress and civil rights activist.

The world is mourning the loss of two great civil rights icons, Bill Russell, and Nichelle Nichols. Bill Russell, who died Sunday, July 31 at the age of 88, was as famous for his dedication to civil rights and racial equality as he was for his prowess on the basketball court. Nichelle Nichols, who played officer Lieutenant Uhura on “Star Trek,” passed away on Saturday, July 30 at the age of 89.


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Nichelle Nichols in “Woman in Motion”

The Orlando-based team that produced “Woman in Motion,” a feature documentary about Nichelle Nichols, “Star Trek,” and the re-making of NASA, have reached out to express their condolences to Nichols’ family, friends, and fans of the beloved star.

“Nichelle, we will eternally be grateful for the opportunity to tell your story and share it with the world,” said Todd Thompson, director, and producer of “Women in Motion.” “You entertained us. You inspired us. You showed all humankind how easy it can be to love and respect one another, live long, and prosper.”

Executive Producer and civil rights attorney Ben Crump adds, “There is a new star in heaven, and its name is Nichelle Nichols. She had talent, grace, beauty, and fortitude, changing television and space forever.”

Through her television work, Nichols played a pivotal role as a civil rights activist. The actress was one of the first African American women to play a significant character in a television series. She shared one of the first interracial kisses in television history with co-star William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk on “Star Trek.”


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Nichelle Nichols as Lt. Uhura in “Star Trek”

Nichols considered leaving the series after the first season for work on the Broadway stage, but a call from civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. convinced her to remain on the show. King complimented Nichols on her role. He convinced her that she reflected the values they were fighting for through her work. King shared with Nichols that “Star Trek” was the only show he and Coretta allowed their young children to stay up and watch. “I was speechless,” Nichols was later quoted as saying.

Nichols continued to inspire in the documentary “Woman in Motion,” a fascinating film set in 1977 when NASA struggled to recruit scientists, engineers, and astronauts for their new Space Shuttle program. Nichols challenged NASA by asking the question: “Where are my people?” and embarked on a four-month campaign to recruit the first Black, Latino and Asian men, and women to fly in space.

“Nichelle will forever be in our hearts. All of us who teamed up to produce the documentary “Woman in Motion” expresses our heartfelt condolences to her family, friends, and fans. Nichelle showed us the way. Now it’s up to us to do something about it. Love, NOT hate. May we always prop one another up and live long and prosper. TOGETHER.”

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