The actress earned the admiration of Martin Luther King Jr. by playing a Black authority figure, rare on 1960s television.

Nichols, who earlier sang and danced as a performer with Duke Ellington’s orchestra, died Saturday night of natural causes, her son, Kyle Johnson, posted on her official Facebook page.

A family spokesman told The Hollywood Reporter that she died in Silver City, New Mexico. She had been living with her son and was recently hospitalized.

Her light however, like the ancient galaxies now being seen for the first time, will remain for us and future generations to enjoy, learn from, and draw inspiration,” he wrote Sunday. “Hers was a life well lived and as such a model for us all.” 

Nichelle Nichols, who made history and earned the admiration of Martin Luther King Jr. for her portrayal of communications officer Lieutenant Uhura on Star Trek, has died. She was 89.

Nichols played a person of authority on television at a time when most Black women were portraying servants.