Remembering Shirley Temple
I was raised on old movies so this is a big deal for me. The most fascinating autobiography I’ve read of her is here. It talks of how she initially worked under child slave labor conditions, was one of the first celebrities to go public about a mastectomy from breast cancer (brave!), a staunch Republican who supported the Vietnam War (boo), and was once the US Ambassador to Ghana (hmm).
Also, check out this about Shirley Temple and racism. I think it says it really perfectly, how in soooome ways it could be perceived as progressive but ultimately perpetuated racist bullshit. My parents raised me on old movies and one of the few old movies I remember watching which had black people in them were Shirley Temple movies, like The Little Rebel and The Little Colonel. The dynamic between the black and white characters in these movies was something that even as a little kid I really studied, because it confused me. I could tell there was something not right about it. Why were black people in these old movies so much more differently portrayed than black people in modern movies? I didn’t even know about American slavery until I was older (like, 8yo), but I could tell that these black people were assumed as inferior in some way? but happy about it? and I could smell bullshit, but didn’t entirely understand.