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:
I shall have more to say about the trailblazing, incomparable Nichelle Nichols, who shared the bridge with us as Lt. Uhura of the USS Enterprise, and who passed today at age 89. For today, my heart is heavy, my eyes shining like the stars you now rest among, my dearest friend.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) July 31, 2022
I am so sorry to hear about the passing of Nichelle. She was a beautiful woman & played an admirable character that did so much for redefining social issues both here in the US & throughout the world. I will certainly miss her. Sending my love and condolences to her family. Bill
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) July 31, 2022
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.
To be the greatest champion in your sport, to revolutionize the way the game is played, and to be a societal leader all at once seems unthinkable, but that is who Bill Russell was. (1/4) pic.twitter.com/K0Ue0hKiLs
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) July 31, 2022
Today, we lost a giant.
As tall as Bill Russell stood, his legacy rises far higher—both as a player and as a person.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) July 31, 2022
I’m heartbroken to hear about the passing of the greatest winner the game of basketball has ever seen, a legend, hall of famer, mentor and my friend for over 30 years, Bill Russell. 💔 pic.twitter.com/iiSkVq2kdn
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) July 31, 2022
Credit: UMT Editor
Photo Credit: Nichelle Nichols Instagram/Bill Russell Instagram