Finding UHURA


When I was pretty young, I stumbled across reruns of Star Trek the original series. At the age of 10 or 11 most of my days were spent playing with my G I Joes or riding my bike around the neighborhood for hours on end.  If I wasn’t riding my bike, I was fixing my bike.  I existed in the now as children do, the future was only as far away as the corner store.  But then I started watching this show. I loved the monsters and the fight scenes were legendary. I even picked up a few moves from Captain Kirk.  But it wasn’t until I saw UHURA, Lieutenant UHURA to be exact, that I began to think about the future and more importantly a little black boys future.  Up until that time there was nothing that said people who looked like me would even exist in the future, not Lost in Space not Flash Gordon, not even Dr Who.  UHURA not only existed in the future, she was a integral part of it. Of course I quickly fell in love with her. I would pretend I was the captain of the Enterprise and she was my second in charge. Yes, I gave her a promotion. I even acted out how Spock would take the news. He took it very logically of course.  “See, Mr Spock, I love her and I’m hoping she’ll sit on my lap.” It went something like that. Spock would reply, “of course, Captain Thurston.”  For some reason he called me Captain Thurston…fascinating.  “I hope she does sit on your lap too Sir.”  I didn’t know it, of course, but just her being on the show let me see myself in the future, the real future.  My boyhood crush on Uhura had opened a new way of thinking and put me on the path to becoming a thinker.  Sulu was there and I’d never seen such a cool funny and heroic man on TV who wasn’t white.  The show told me that, hey, we all made it to the future and we’re friends.  By finding UHURA I found the future  and I was there.  Fast forward to now, I’m standing in front of Nichelle Nichols at a Con in Pittsburgh and she knows exactly why I’m smiling! IMG_2944

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