Lieutenant Uhura, was famously portrayed by the lovely Nichelle Nichols... Uhuru which was the original name of Uhura in Swahili means freedom.
Nichelle brought a grace to her role, as the intelligent and beautiful communications officer.
It should be pointed out that Uhura was portrayed earlier in the series as being another of Spock's protégées, in fact was a foil in the first broadcast episode "The Man Trap".
----Nichelle almost left Star Trek, to go back to her career as a singer and dancer, but a chance meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King kept her at the communications station. In short he told Nichelle that she was a role model, and that a lot of people (color and gender) look up to her. And so she stayed.
* Two of the more well known people to be inspired by Nichelle both had roles on Star Trek: The Next Generation- Dr. Mae Jemison, who is a retired Astronaut. And of course Whoopi Goldberg, who played the role of Guinan... she specifically asked to have a role on TNG to help inspire a future generation as Uhura/Nichelle did way back when.
Nichelle and William Shatner shared a kiss that made some history, from the episode "Plato's Stepchildren", it is popularly called the first inter-racial kiss on Television. However it was the first on-screen kiss between a black female and white male on American television.
Nichelle played Uhura for 68 episodes of Star Trek, 19 of 22 episodes of The Animated Series, 6 feature films, and one professional fan-film "Of Gods and Men".
Star Trek: New Voyages
The first lovely lady to inhabit the uniform of Uhura was Julienne Irons. She played Uhura for 3 episodes (In Harm's Way, To Serve All My Days, and World Enough and Time) and the pilot (Come What May). She did a good job, having the basic things to do and say. She was missed, although I never worked with her.
Star Trek: Phase II
Going into "Blood and Fire", like "Enemy: Starfleet:" for Chekov, we needed a strong Uhura and we got it in Kim Stinger. She has played Uhura for 7 episodes (some of them not released). As a person, this casting was awesome by the production staff. Kim is an amazing person who helps where she can on the set. She also has an elegance that mirrors Nichelle Nichols. As Uhura she is flawless bringing the right amount of energy to each and every scene she is in.