Meet: Shirley Temple Black, first female U.S. Chief Protocol
and first child actress to win an Academy Award
Although you might first think of Shirley Temple Black as the child
star who danced and sang her way into America's hearts in the 1930's,
her achievements and accomplishments in her adult life have reached far
more people globally.
As a child, Shirley starred in more than 40 major motion pictures and
50 major television productions. She received an Oscar Award in 1935.
Although many child actors and actresses have difficulty moving from the
entertainment industry into business or other careers, Shirley Temple
Black is a remarkable exception. She has been able to blend her quick
wit and style with warmth and grace to become one of our nations most
In 1969, Mrs. Black became a U.S. Delegate to the United Nations. In
the years that followed, she served as a U.S. Delegate to many International
Conferences and Summits on cooperative treaties and human environment.
In 1976, she became the first female Chief of Protocol of the United States.
From this position she moved on to the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic
of Ghana from 1974-1976, then U.S. Chief Protocol, then an officer for
the U.S. Foreign Affairs Department, and later in 1989 to U.S. Ambassador
to Czech and Slovak Federal Republic. As the first female U.S. Chief Protocol
of the United States, she was in charge of implementation of all State
Department visits, ceremonies, gifts for foreign heads of state, and liaison
to all foreign embassies and consulates located in the U.S.A. Protocol
is the diplomatic procedure governed by law or international custom and
practice. The Department of State first established a Division of Protocol
in 1928. All incumbents since 1961 have held the rank of Ambassador.
Diplomatic skills and the ability to create a climate among people where
they can discuss issues of mutual concern are extremely important. Though
her diplomatic skills kept her busy in the political arena, Mrs. Black
has also lent her expertise in the business sector sitting on the Corporate
Board of Directors for such major companies as Del Monte, Bancal Tri-State,
Fireman's Fund Insurance, and Walt Disney Productions.
Her professional activities currently include board and council memberships
on the Institute for International Studies at Stanford University, the
Council on Foreign Relations, the Council of American Ambassadors, and
the World Affairs Council. She has also served on the boards of the United
States Commission for UNESCO, the National Committee on U.S. - China Relations,
the United Nations Association, the American-China Society, and the U.S.
Citizens's Space Task Force. She was a founding member in 1983 and currently
serves on the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Diplomacy
and was Co-founder of the International Federation of Multiple Sclerosis
Mrs. Black received honorary doctorates from University of Santa Clara
and Leigh University, a Fellowship from College of Notre Dame, and a Chubb
Fellowship from Yale University.
Some of the skills that have been critical to her success include negotiating
skills, studying international events and problem areas, and, most importantly,
teamwork. A turning point in her political career was when she served
as a delegate to the United Nations, focusing her work on diplomatic relations.
Her personal contacts with both Eleanor Roosevelt and Amelia Earhart gave
her drive and perseverance, and Mrs. Black credits them both with being
her key role models.
Although her varied career has kept her active, she still found time
to raise a wonderful family, her greatest accomplishment and joy. She
has three children and one granddaughter and currently lives in Woodside,
California with her husband Charles Black. She truly enjoys being a wife,
mother, and grandmother. Her hobbies include golf, gardening, fishing
Archived QuestChats with Shirley Temple Black