“JFK The Last Speech” explores the dramatic relationship between two major 20th century Americans—President John F. Kennedy and the poet Robert Frost—which reached its tragic climax in a surprising encounter with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev at the height of the Cold War.
Robert Frost, a professor at Amherst, had “said” a poem at President John F. Kennedy’s January 20, 1961 inauguration: the first poet ever invited to speak at an inaguration. Then, Kennedy spoke at Amherst College in 1963 for the dedication of the new Robert Frost Library. JFK took the opportunity to address the future leaders in the audience – not just about poetry but about power and impact – and the speec has been called the “most majestic” of his career. He was assassinated just 3 weeks later.
Few people know the story behind the speech and the connection between John F. Kennedy and Robert Frost. The film and the companion book address both this story, and how the speech altered the lives of a group of Amherst college classmates who witnessed this compelling address. He spoke of the obligation of those “given a running start in life” to serve the public interest.
“The men who create power make an indispensable contribution to a nation’s greatness. But the men who question power make a contribution just as indispensable – for they determine whether we use power or power uses us.”
– John F. Kennedy, delivered at Amherst College October 26, 1963
This documentary about President Kennedy and Robert Frost explores the importance of their messages in contemporary America. Produced by an award-winning filmmaker, this film will ignite public discourse on enduring values and on our shared responsibility for the public interest. It is a call to action to rebuild our civic sphere — infused with broad sympathy, understanding, and compassion.
For more information about the event or to watch the trailer, please visit www.jfkthelastspeech.com or watch the trailer.
More information can be found on American Public Television.
The film is now available on Amazon.com.
The companion volume, JFK. The Last Speech, edited by Neil Bicknell, Roger M. Mills, and Jan Worth-Nelson is available on Amazon.com.
“There is inherited wealth in this country and also inherited poverty. And unless the graduates of this college and other colleges like it who are given a running start in life—unless they are willing to put back into our society those talents, the broad sympathy, the understanding, the compassion—unless they are willing to put those qualities back into the service of the Great Republic, then obviously the presuppositions upon which our democracy are based are bound to be fallible.”
– John F. Kennedy, Amherst College October 26, 1963