At GeekDad, Lonnie Morgan presents a list of the ten strongest, most affirming black characters in science fiction. #8 on the list is Lt. Nyota Uhura from Star Trek. Although unimpressive by today's standards, a black female as something other than a maid was quite startling in 1966. Whoopi Goldberg credited Nichelle Nichols in the role of Uhura as encouraging her acting career.
Hmm. For that, perhaps we should condemn Uhura.
Anyway, even though producers diverted racist hate mail that was sent to her, Nichols considered leaving the show after the first season. It was only a personal appeal by Martin Luther King, Jr. that kept her on.