Watch: The Smithsonian releases rare footage of Nichelle Nichols as Uhura encouraging children to explore the stars

By: H&I Staff     Posted: August 12, 2022, 10:22AM   

Since we lost Nichelle Nichols recently, fans, colleagues and Trekkies worldwide have been remembering her incredible life. Beyond playing the iconic Enterprise communications officer, Nichols was well-known for her offscreen work where she used her sci-fi fame to encourage more marginalized groups to apply for NASA. Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African-American female astronaut, directly attributed Nichols' campaigning to her drive to become an astronaut.

In honor of Nichols' legacy, the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum released rare footage from a 1978 video filmed during the production of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The video was made as part of a twenty-minute educational film called What's In It For Me? filmed by Nichols' company Woman in Motion, Inc.

Nichols filmed the video as part of a drive to encourage more school-aged minority children to visit after a lack of diversity in attendance was identified by the museum. In the short film, Nichols, playing Lt. Uhura, beams back in time to the museum where a modern-day girl gives her a tour of the museum.

Near the end, the girl expresses her concern that she'll never be able to do what Uhura does. "Lieutenant Uhura, I believe in you, but you live way in the future. Can girls ever really be like you? Can they really tour galaxies like you do?"

In return, Uhura sings her a song encouraging her to never stop reaching for the stars and to continue gaining knowledge through her life. Finally, a choked-up Uhura asks Scotty to beam her back aboard.

Watch the video now: