Nichelle Nichols’ famous kiss with William Shatner on Star Trek was one that broke racial, cultural and entertainment barriers.
During a time when it was particularly dangerous to be Black—for many it feels like it still is—the famed actress took a chance with not just her career, but her life.
In 1968, Nichols, who played Lt. Uhura on the show, kissed Shatner’s character, Capt. Kirk, in the episode “Plato’s Stepchildren.” The scene is generally credited as the first-ever interracial kiss in mainstream media.
For Star Trek’s 50th anniversary, the Smithsonian Channel sat down with Nichols to revisit the pivotal moment that forever changed American history.
“African-Americans saw the show and went, ‘Wow. You know like, We’re on TV!”” Nichols says in the clip. “There were many little girls … Black, White, yellow, brown, red, green [who] wanted to be Uhura.”
The above clip focuses on viewers’ reaction to an African-American female assuming a leadership role on the U.S.S. Enterprise and how Nichols paved the way for African-American female astronauts.
The full documentary, Building Star Trek, will air Sunday, September 4, at 8/7pm CST on Smithsonian Channel.
Image: Wikipedia Commons