“Uhura never had another name during the series. One of the fan writers wrote “Upenda” - which means “peace” in Swahili, I understand — not officially, but in some of their fan writings. And it sort of took hold. But when they were going to do the official history of Star Trek in a published book, the writer called Gene and asked him was “Uhura” her first name or her last name? Gene said, “Well, Nichelle and I never decided.” We always leaned towards it being her last name because it’s taken from the Swahili “uhuru” which means freedom. So it would sort of be like the same as “Freeman.” So he said, “You can make it her last name.” The writer said, “What about her first name? I’ve come up with one in Swahili. It’s Nyota.” Gene said, “I can’t give you that permission because Nichelle and I named her together, and she has rights to that, so you’ll have to call her and get her permission.” So he gave him my number, and he called me and I laughed and was delighted. He said, “I have a name and it’s Nyota.” I said, “That’s quite beautiful. What does it mean?” He said, “It means ‘star’.” I said, “You can have my permission!” So I have since said that her name is Nyota Upenda Uhura, which would mean a free-floating star: “star of freedom and peace”. I like that.” — NICHELLE NICHOLS
James: I got a fan letter, from a young lady. It was a suicide note. So I uh, I called her. I said, ‘Hey this is Jimmy Doohan. Scotty of Star Trek.’ I said, ‘I’m doing a con in Indianapolis. I want you to be there.’ I saw her and, I couldn’t believe what I saw. She was definitely suicidal. Somebody had to help her somehow. And obviously she wasn’t going to the right people. Anyhow I said, ‘I’m doing a convention two weeks from now in St. Louis.’ Two weeks from then and something and then she came to New York. And she was able to afford to go to these places. And this went on for two or three years. Maybe eighteen times. And all I did was talk to her, positive things. And then all of a sudden, ZIP. Nothing. I didn’t hear anything I didn’t know what was happening cause I never saved her address. Eight years later I get a letter saying, ‘I do want to thank you so much for what you did for me, because I just got my masters in electronic engineering.’ You know, to me, thats the best thing I have ever done in my life. And it brings tears to my eyes every time I even talk about the story.
Reblogging this again because it is the most beautiful thing ever.