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 African Americans

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*(Lanai Chapman/costar) Lt. Vanessa Damphousse, a black soldier who was part of a squadron of United States Marine space warriors sent into space to battle an unknown enemy attacking the planet Earth in the year 2063 A.D. Lanai Chapman had previously played Ensign Rager on several episodes of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION/SYN/1987-94.

*(James Avery) Alonzo Sparks, a portly black attorney who operated a Compton, California-based legal firm Sparks, Sparks & Sparks with the help of his family members. Regular included Terrence Howard and Miguel A. Nunez, Jr. as Alonzo's two quarrelsome lawyer sons, Greg and Maxey; Kym Whitley as Darice Mayberry; Arif S. Kinchen as LaMarr Hicks; and Robin Givens as Wilma Cuthbert, the firm's lovely legal eagle. When Alonzo attended college he earned the nickname "Porky" (after Porky Pig) because his intimidating law professor made him stammer when he stood up to speak in class.

*(Avery Brooks/costar) Hawk, a somber, black mercenary with his own sense of honor who often assisted his friend Spenser, a white Boston-based private detective. In real life, Avery Brooks has been a writer, director, jazz musician, opera singer and associate professor of Theater Arts at Rutgers University. His latest claim to fame is his role as Commander Benjamin Sisko on the syndicated science fiction series DEEP SPACE NINE.

SPIN CITY/ABC/1996-2002
*(Michael Boatman/costar) Carter Heywood, a black homosexual gay activist working for the Mayor's office in New York City. Carter's sardonic personality had very little patients for foolishness and believed that he was superior to all the people around him. Victoria Dillard appeared as Janelle Cooper a black secretary who also assisted the Deputy Mayor during the 1996-2000 seasons. Janelle had a romantic fling with white Mayor Randall Winston with whom she worked very closely.

*(Robert Guillaume/costar) Isaac Jaffe, a black managing editor of a nightly cable sports-news show who contends with the personal and professional problems of his on-air talent. Isaac suffered a stroke on episode “Eli’s Coming” (This stroke mirrored a real stroke of actor Guillaume while on the set of “Sports Night” on January 14, 1999). While he was in recovery Isaac was shown to be missed and idolized by his TV staff colleagues. Episode “Dear Louise” revealed that Isaac started out as a stringer for the Atlanta Journal, and later won the Pulitzer Price for his coverage of the Gemini Mission. He then hired as the London Bureau Chief for CNN, which he retired from until he was brought out of retirement to run Luther Sachs’ Continental Corps new cable sports show. Isaac also has a 16-year-old daughter named Cathy who is married to Douglas, a radar officer in the navy. They live in San Francisco.

**(Claudette Wells) La Donna Fredericks, a bigoted black high school sophisticate who often made life rough for her fellow students who didn't measure up to her standards.

**(Nichelle Nichols) Lt. Uhura, a black female communications officer of African descent (Bantu Tribe) stationed onboard the USS Enterprise, a starship whose mission was to explore strange new worlds. Nichelle Nichols role was continued in the spin-off motion picture STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE and the successful sequels that followed. TRIVIA NOTE: The word "Uhura" is Swahili for "freedom." The topic of racial intolerance was addressed on the episode No. 70 "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" whose storyline followed the hunt for an alleged political traitor named Lokai from the planet Cheron who was sought by one of its inhabitants named Bele (played by white actor Frank Gorshin). Bele, who claimed his people were the "master race," was black on the left side and white on the right, hated Lokai. And Lokai (played by white actor Lou Antonio), who was white on the left side and black on the right, hated Bele. The inability of Cheron's people to curtail their racial hated for one another resulted in the death of their home world. On episode No. 53 "The Ultimate Computer" black actor William Marshall played the brilliant 23rd century computer scientist Dr. Richard Daystrom whose breakthroughs in duotronics became the basis for the computer systems used aboard the Federation starships.

*(LeVar Burton/costar) Starfleet Lt. Geordi La Forge, a Helmsman (and later Engineer) for the 24th century starship USS Enterprise-D. La Forge "saw" via a prosthetic device placed over his eyes called a VISOR (Visual Input Sensory Optical Reflector). The curved, silver band of metal with rows of vertical slits was attached to two blinking red implants imbedded into each of his temples. Giordi's real eyes were covered with a film of white. His artificial sight transcended normal human vision. The powers of an alien named "Q" once intervened to give La Forge a moment of "real" sight but Geordi refused the gift. In the Star Trek movie Insurrection (1998) Geordie no longer needed his visor. The miracle of technology had provided him with natural sight. Other cast included black actor Michael Dorn in the role of a Klingon Warrior named Worf; and Whoppi Goldberg, as a mysterious brown skinned alien named Guinan who ran the Ten Forward recreation lounge aboard the Enterprise. On a 1993 episode Mae Jemison, America's first black female astronaut made a cameo appearance (Jemison credited STAR TREK's Nichelle Nichols with inspiring her career in space).

*(Avery Brooks) Captain Benjamin Lafayette Sisko, black commander of Deep Space Nine, a rundown space station orbiting the planet Bajor. Sisko was chosen by the mysterious legendary life-forms known as the Prophets to be their "Emissary" who was promised by the prophets to save the Bajorn people. Other cast included Cirroc Lofton as Jake Sisko, Benjamin's young son; an aspiring writer; Felicia M. Bell as Jennifer Sisko, Benjamin's wife who was killed during the battle for Wolf 359 in 2367; Brock Peters as Joseph Sisko, Benjamin's father who owns a Cajun restaurant in San Francisco on Earth; and Penny Johnson, as Captain Cassidy Yates (whom Benjamin later married). Black actor Michael Dorn later joined the cast in the role of a Klingon warrior named Worf.

*(Tim Russ) Tuvok, brown-skinned Vulcan security chief on board the starship Voyager lost on the other side of the galaxy. Although this character is an outer space alien, he was played by an African-American actor and so I included him in this section.

**(Bernie Hamilton) Captain Harold Dobey, a quick tempered, dyspeptic black supervisor of two white maverick undercover street detectives. Antonio Fargas also appeared as Huggy Bear, a black inner city bar owner and friend to detectives Starsky & Hutch.

*(Steve Harvey) Steve Hightower, a former 70s R&B singer takes a job as a music teacher at an inner-city Chicago high school. Other cast members were Wendy Raquel Robinson as Regina “Piggy“ Grier, a no-nonsense school principal and Steve's love interest; Cedric Robinson as Cedric “The Entertainer,” Steve‘s gym teacher pal; and Terri J. Vaughn as Lovita, Cedric's girlfriend. Steve’s students included Netfa Perry's as Sara, an outspoken, know-it-all student; Merlin Santana as Romeo, the smooth-talking ladies man; and Sophia Ortiz as Tracy Vilar, Romeo’s sassy, soft-hearted girlfriend.

*(Larry Riley/costar) Harry Fletcher, a black man falsely accused of a crime he did not commit, runs from the police accompanied by a white friend who was also implicated in the crime. The series was a spoof of the FUGITIVE/ABC/1963-67 and a rip-off of the black & white pairing of the successful movie Stir Crazy (1980) with Gene Wilder & Richard Pryor (inspired by an even earlier film classic The Defiant Ones (1958) with Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier as two escaping prisoners shackled to one another on the run from the law.

**(Sydney Goldsmith) Coral, a black exercise instructor working at The Fountain of Youth Health Spa in Beverly Hills. Sydney Goldsmith also starred as Earline Cunningham in the second attempt of the same series titled THE STOCKARD CHANNING SHOW/CBS/1980.

*(Saundra Quarterman/costar) Major Lynne Reese, a black law enforcement official who interacted with former Army scientist who exposed criminal abuses of science.


*(Carl Weathers) Adam Beaudreaux, a black Special Forces Vietnam veteran who worked as a by-the-book plainclothes police sergeant (badge # 2230) in an unidentified Metropolitan city in the Pacific Northwest. Adam, who lived at 2731 West Bond Street, spent his spare time at Molloy’s Bar, which he co-owned with a beautiful white woman called Molloy.

*(Dorian Harewood/costar) Paul Strobber, a black Los Angeles undercover policeman and member of a special crime fighting division that tracked down mad bombers, rapists, assassins and other assorted fanatics. Paul is married and has two kids.

*(Guy Torry/costar) Jesse Weir, an unconventional black ex-Las Vegas police officer (a Philadelphia native) who teamed with former white police partner to work as private security detectives at Ceasar’s Palace Hotel and Casino owned by billionaire casino impresario with plans to clean up his town.

**(Willie Best) Willie, a black handyman who worked for the bumbling Stu Erwin, a white principal at Hamilton High School.

SUGAR HILL See "The Leslie Uggums Show”

**(Sherri Shepherd) Miranda Charles, a former black Naval Academy graduate introduced during the 1999 fall season who is fiercely protective as executive assistant to the new editor (Eric Idle) at the San Francisco based magazine called The Gate. Shepherd made her television debut on the comedy series CLEGHORNE!, but is perhaps best known for her recurring role as Sgt. Judy Potter, the opinionated cop opposite Brad Garrett on the CBS sitcom EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND. Shepherd was born in Chicago.

*(Loretta Devine & Vickilyn Reynolds) Loretta Fontaine and Vickilyn Fontaine Clayton, two black sisters living in a small Oklahoma town who attempt to raise their rambunctious teenage niece, Toby Reed (played by La Verne Anderson) after her parents are killed in a car accident. Vicklyn runs a curio shop called Small World Miniatures, and Loretta is a hostess at Cafe Jacques. All three live at 731 Oakwood Avenue in Ponca City.

*(Erik King) Tuscon Smith, a black undercover LA cop posing as a rugged biker for an experimental unit comprising four undercover cops.

*(Larry B. Scott/costar) F. X. Spinner, a brilliant black electronics wizard who is the chief engineer/designer of the secretive SUPERFORCE project (robotic suit of armor) financed by now deceased millionaire E. B. Hungerford.

*(Cicely Tyson/costar) Carrie Grace Battle, a progressive black attorney living in the South. Other cast were Cree Summer as Reese Dawkins, a single mother and new attorney at the firm of Battle-Ross & Associates; and Michael Warren as Michael "T-Dog" Turner, a strong-willed black community leader.

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