Today we honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. On this day I also honor the Dream and one person in particular that it affected, in which like a domino effect, her life accomplishments permanently impacted me.
Nichelle Nichols, born Grace Nichols in late December 1932, managed to leave an everlasting mark in history. Destined to be a highly touted theatrical performer on Broadway, Nichols appeared in some of the most famous productions such as “Carmen”, “Porgy and Bess”, “Blue Angel”, and “Kick’s and Co”. Gracing the cover of Ebony magazine in the late 60’s, Nichelle would be offered the role of a lifetime just a short time later.
The popular but short-lived series Star Trek opened the doors to history for Nichols as she portrayed a high ranking lieutenant. This role would make her the first African American woman to play a role that was non-menial such as a servant or maid. The first year was quite challenging as you could imagine and in fact she came close to leaving the production. That was until she met one of biggest fans, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. After a brief conversation about her intentions, Dr. King, urged Nichelle to continue on because her role was vital to the lives of black children and young women across America.
Clinching to the words of Dr. King, Nichols pressed on to deliver a performance that would be one that she’d forever be remembered for. The infamous, industry changing kiss that she shared with William Shatner was the first ever on screen interracial smooch for a major tv series. Imagine the controversy this must of caused in the early Civil Rights Movement Era. The production house played the scene off as an alien inflicted force of telekinesis.
Later, Nichelle Nichols went on to volunteer for NASA and make huge efforts that would impact space travel as young women would know it. Including the life of Dr. Sally Ride, the first female American astronaut and Dr. Judith Resnik, the first African American female astronaut. It is the life and legacy of Nichelle Nichols that has inspired me to follow my dreams and keep “The Dream” of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. alive and strong.
The After Effect:
After experiencing the craziness of last year, the year 2011 had to hold a brighter future. Just three days into the new year, I received a call from a good friend that happens to be a reporter. She wanted to inform me of a temporary opening at her station and suggested that I apply for it . On edge after sending a packed email full of information and links showcasing my work, it took only 2 days to get the call! I finally was given the opportunity to interview with one of the local news stations for what I thought was a temporary position. That Friday I had my chance. I successfully managed to get hired on a trial basis in order to prove myself. That’s all I could ask for, because the rest was up to me and I was GAME!! Though it’s only been a week since my first day, things have began to blossom and unfold in ways that I could’ve never imagined. My dream is starting to unfold right before my eyes.
Whether this experience last over a lifetime or for just a few weeks, it will be one that I forever hold dear to my heart. I am thankful for the opportunity and I will continue in my efforts to make a difference in the lives that will follow after me.
This is my dream and I am Living it!