Today in Mighty Girl history, Shirley Temple Black -- the most famous child movie star in history -- was born in 1928. Shirley Temple starred in dozens of movies starting with her first film at the age of three in 1932. As a multi-talented singer and dancer with a famously sunny disposition, Black quickly became the most popular movie star of the Depression years. Black often spoke of the importance of this unique period in history to her success, stating: “People in the Depression wanted something to cheer them up, and they fell in love with a dog, Rin Tin Tin, and a little girl."
Years after she left show business, Black started raising funds for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society; a disease that afflicted her brother. By the early 1960s, she was president of the Multiple Sclerosis Society and co-founder of the International Federation of Multiple Sclerosis Societies. In the years that followed, she became increasingly engaged in politics and served as the U.S. Ambassador to two countries: Ghana from 1974 to 1976 and Czechoslovakia in 1989.
Black also became one of the first prominent women to speak publicly about her fight against breast cancer. After she had a mastectomy in 1972, she held a press conference in her hospital room and urged women discovering breast lumps to seek medical attention and not to "sit home and be afraid." Due to her openness around her experience, the New York Times stated that "she is widely credited with helping to make it acceptable to talk about breast cancer."
For a fasincating book for adult readers about Shirley Temple's tremendous influence during the Great Depression, check out "The Little Girl Who Fought the Great Depression: Shirley Temple and 1930s America" at http://amzn.to/1qH74mG