JFK: film screening and discussion November 15

Join us for a Film Screening and discussion about JFK’s presidency:

November 15, 19:00 at the London School of Economics.

  This is now sold out. For information about our plans for screenings in  2014 go here



Picture courtesy of PBS America


Trailer preview from PBS America JFK


From PBS America’s press release about this four part series:

“Forever enshrined in myth by an assassin’s bullet, John F Kennedy’s presidency has often defied objective appraisal. This new portrait offers a fresh assessment of the man, his accomplishments and his unfulfilled promise.”

November 22nd is the 50th anniversary of  the assassination of John F Kennedy. 

While Kennedy’s presidential tenure was brief, he remains an iconic figure for Democrats and one of the post-World War II presidents most highly revered by the American public.

Making extensive use of original film footage and interviews with Kennedy family members, administration officials, civil rights leaders and journalists and noted historians, Susan Bellows, director and producer, provides a well-paced, thought-provoking and gripping documentary.

For reasons of time, we are showcasing the final sections of this series, which follows Kennedy into the White House, through his assassination and the unfulfilled promise of his presidency. Key events and issues covered in this portion of the film include the Bay of Pigs invasion, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Civil Rights movement and Vietnam.


We are delighted to have one of the contributors to this film series, Tim Naftali, author and historian and  Senior Research Fellow at the New America Foundation,  as our post-screening speaker.

From the PBS American Experience website

Tim Naftali (Participant) is a historian and author. In the mid-1990s, fresh out of graduate school in history at Harvard, he was the first non-Russian to see the KGB’s files on the Castro brothers. This led to his first book, One Hell of a Gamble, about the Cuban missile crisis, written with Aleksandr Fursenko. In the late 1990s, Naftali became the first director of the Miller Center’s Presidential Recordings Program at the University of Virginia, which transcribed and annotated John F. Kennedy’s tapes. In 2003, the 9/11 Commission hired Naftali as a consultant; his work for the commission led to the publication of Blind Spot: The Secret History of American Counterterrorism in 2005. In 2006, the National Archives tapped Naftali to transform the private Nixon Library into a federal facility and to create a new Watergate gallery. During his tenure as director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, he oversaw the release of 1.3 million pages of materials and 630 hours of the famous Nixon Tapes. After leaving that post in late 2011, Naftali became a Senior Research Fellow at the New America Foundation. He is currently writing a book on the presidency of JFK, slated for publication by Norton in 2014.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        


Baroness  Williams  of Crosby is better known to us all as Shirley Williams, one of the “Gang of Four” who dramatically left the Labour Party to form a new political party, the Social Democratic Party.

Shirley Williams was born in 1930. She became the first woman General Secretary of the Fabian Society in 1960, and in 1964 was elected MP for Hitchin. She was a member of the Wilson and Callaghan Governments in the 1960s and 1970s, culminating as Secretary of State for Education and Science, and Paymaster General in the cabinet from 1976 to 1979.  She lost her seat in the 1979 election.

By 1980 the Labour Party in her view was veering into left-wing extremism, and in 1981 she co-founded the Social Democratic Party as one of the “Gang of Four”. She became the first MP elected for the SDP in a 1981 by-election in Crosby. From 1982 and 1988 Shirley Williams was elected President of the new party. Shirley Williams strongly supported the merger of the SDP with Liberal Party into what was to become the Liberal Democrats.

Shirley Williams lost her seat in the 1983 General Election following boundary changes. She became Public Service Professor of Elective Politics at the John F Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University from 1988-1996. She has lectured at Cambridge, and in Princeton, Berkeley and Chicago in the US.

Shirley Williams was married to the late Professor Richard Neustadt, a leading expert on the US Presidency.


She was appointed to the Lords in 1993 and served as the Party’s spokesperson on Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in the Lords from 1998 to 2001 and was elected Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords in 2001 serving until September 2004. She became in 2007 adviser to the Prime Minister on nuclear proliferation, has been a member of the board of the Nuclear Threat Initiation (NTI) of Washington DC for over ten years, and the only British member of the International Commission on Nuclear Disarmament and Proliferation and chairman of judges for the National Teaching Awards. She published her autobiography, Climbing the Bookshelves, in 2009. 


Susan Schoenfeld Harrington, the Vice Chair of DAUK, will chair the discussion. Susan started her political life as a 'babe in arms' at the March on Washington.  She has since actively worked on political campaigns at the city, state and national level as both a volunteer and staff.  She's been active with the Democratic National Committee and is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative. Susan's political universe was formed around a dinner table where the loss of Adlai Stevenson's two Presidential attempts in 1952 and 56 were deeply felt. Her lifelong interest in American politics in the 50s and 60s has been a result.

DAUK Film Night
Date: Friday, November 15
Time:  7.00 PM

Place: London School of Economics  Room CLM.2.02, 2nd floor, Clements House (Building CLM in lower right hand corner of this  map)    99 Aldwych  WC2B 4JF

6:30pm: Doors open
7:00pm: Introduction
7:10pm: JFK (PBS, selections from parts 3 and 4)

8:45 pm:  Discussion with Tim Naftali and Baroness Williams,  chaired by Susan Schoenfeld Harrington

Then join us afterwards at the Old Bank of England Pub, 194 Fleet Street, EC4A 2LT

Buy your tickets now via EventBrite here £6 (£4 concession) This only covers our costs.                                                            Only US citizens and Green Card holders are permitted to book and buy tickets.  Non Us citizens are very welcome to attend as guests of US citizens/Green card holders.  This is because DAUK is an official part of the US Democratic Party and is therefore unable to accept any funds from non US citizens or Green Card holders.


.  This event is closed to the press.


For details of the full series, which premiers on November 12 in the UK go to  PBS's American Experience website for details. 

For details of  DAUK 2013- 2014 film screening program, go here

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