“I just saw a black woman on television, and she ain’t no maid!” – Whoopi Goldberg on viewing Nichelle Nichols on the bridge of the Enterprise as a child
This month Bravo Fleet will be celebrating Black History Month; the most noticeable being the change in the BFMS to celebrate some of the most prolific characters in all of Star Trek. Without a doubt, Star Trek tackled racism head-on and the treatment of black people all over the world, not just in the United States. It helped bring racial issues to the forefront wrapped in a sci-fi allegory that was easier for many people around the world to handle. Slowly, it helped bring love into more people’s hearts. But, we all know that; it is a large part of why we’re all here and why we love Star Trek. Star Trek is, without a doubt, a huge impact on Black History.
There is the infamous story of how Nichelle Nichols wanted to leave Star Trek because of the inherent racism she was dealing with at the studio, only to be talked out of it at the last minute by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr; or the story of how seeing Nichelle on the bridge of the Enterprise helped inspire Whoopi Goldberg to become an actress; or Avery Brooks becoming the first African American captain to lead a Star Trek television show and punch Q directly in his noggin’. The stories are endless.
To celebrate, I’ll leave you with one of the most powerful quotes that intersect Black History Month with Star Trek:
“Call anybody you want, they can’t do anything to me, not any more, and nor can any of you. I am a Human being, dammit! You can deny me all you want but you can’t deny Ben Sisko – He exists! That future, that space station, all those people – they exist in here! (pointing to his head) In my mind. I created it. And everyone of you knew it, you read it. It’s here. (pointing to his head again) Do you hear what I’m telling you? You can pulp a story but you cannot destroy an idea, don’t you understand, that’s ancient knowledge, you cannot destroy an idea. (becoming hysterical) That future – I created it, and it’s real! Don’t you understand? It is real. I created it. And it’s real! It’s REAL! Oh God!” – Benny Russell