Rest in Power: Nichelle Nichols, 89, and Bill Russell, 88, have died

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On Sunday, the world learned that two pioneering Black legends had died. Nichelle Nichols, 89, died on Saturday, July 30, according to her son. Nichols was best known as Lt. Uhura on the original Star Trek. Her on-screen kiss with Captain Kirk, played by white actor William Shatner is often cited as the first interracial kiss on U.S. television. Nichols continued acting through 2016, including reprising her role in several Star Trek movies. She also devoted much of her time to Women in Motion, a company she created to assist NASA with female and minority recruitment.

Image: Nichelle Nichols Instagram

Her Star Trek co-stars George Takei and William Shatner posted tributes on their social media:

On Sunday, Legendary NBA star Bill Russell passed away “peacefully”, according to an announcement posted to his Twitter account.

The Boston Celtic legend and 11-time NBA champion is considered one of the greatest ever to play the game. He is listed as #6 on the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team published by ESPN. His storied career includes 5-time NBA MVP, 12-time NBA All-Star, and 1956 Olympic gold medalist. He is also tied for the most professional sports titles won at 11. As the US Civil Rights Movement unfolded, Russell supported the Black Power Movement and attended the “Cleveland Summit” as Muhammad Ali refused the military draft. In 2016, he posted a picture of himself wearing his Presidential Medal of Freedom and taking a knee in support of NFL player Colin Kaepernick’s social justice protests.

The Boston Celtic Organization, Former President Barack Obama, and Lakers Great Ervin “Magic” Johnson, among many, many others, posted tributes to Russell via social media.

Credit: UMT Editor

Photo Credit: Nichelle Nichols Instagram/Bill Russell Instagram