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Telegrams

Since the 1800’s Telegrams have been responsible for relaying important and urgent information. Prior to telegrams, nearly all information was limited to traveling at the speed of a human or animal. The telegram freed communication from the constraints of space and time and truly affected how the world lived. In many ways telegrams can be thought of as an early form of Twitter. Similar to the restriction of 140 characters within a Tweet, writers of telegrams needed to be thoughtful in their message crafting and word selection. This was so both for economical reasons and the desire to speed the transmission of the telegram. For this reason, the messages within telegrams are often quite direct and strategic in their formation.

Telegram from Malcolm X to MLK

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Malcolm X offers Dr. King assistance with the situation in St. Augustine, including the organization of self-defense units.

Tuesday, June 30, 1964

Telegram from Operation Breadbasket Leaders to Ivan Allen

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This telegram originates from leaders of the Atlanta chapter of Operation Breadbasket and urges the Mayor to take action on employment opportunities for African-Americans.

Tuesday, November 14, 1967

Telegram from Stanley Levison to Coretta Scott King

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Stanley Levison warns Mrs. King about interceding between governments.

Friday, January 17, 1969

Telegram from Marion Barry and Edward Biking to MLK

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The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee extends gratitude to Dr. King for his deep commitment to the concept of nonviolence and a free society while he is incarcerated in the Dekalb County Jail.

Wednesday, October 26, 1960

Telegram from Dover Beale and Theodore Patterson to MLK

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Dover Beale and Theodore Patterson send well wishes and hopes for a full recovery to Dr. King.

Monday, September 22, 1958

Telegram from Tuskegee Students and Teachers to the SCLC

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Teachers and students from Tuskegee write members of the SCLC to express their support for the upcoming mobilization and Dr. King's stance on the Vietnam War.

Wednesday, April 12, 1967

Telegram from MLK Congratulating Georgia Legislators Elect

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Dr. King congratulates Grace Hamilton, William Alexander, Julian Bond, J. D. Grier, and J. C. Daugherty on their recent election to the Legislature of the State of Georgia. He offers his support in "our quest for freedom and human dignity."

Friday, June 18, 1965

Telegram from Joseph Lowery to Wyatt Walker

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Reverend Joseph E. Lowery writes to Reverend Wyatt Walker acknowledging his support of Walker's "sacrifice in behalf of freedom and justice for all."

Friday, November 3, 1967

Telegram from Andrew Allen to MLK

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Pastor Andrew J. Allen offers to serve Dr. King's jail term for him.

Monday, October 30, 1967

Invitation to SCLF Celebration from MLK

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Dr. King sent this telegram to 30 prominent members of the Philedelphia community, inviting them to join the Southern Christian Leadership Foundation in presenting the Star for Freedom to Harry Belafonte, Aretha Franklin, and Signey Poitier.

Tuesday, October 24, 1967

Telegram from King Children to Master Billy Watchel

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The King children thank Billy Wachtel for the Christmas gifts he sent to them.

Thursday, January 2, 1969

Telegram from MLK to President John F. Kennedy

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Dr. King sends an urgent telegram to President Kennedy recommending Judge William Hastie and Judge Thurgood Marshall be given serious consideration for a seat on the Supreme Court.

Friday, March 30, 1962

Telegram from Dora McDonald to Grand Hotel

Dora McDonald sends an additional Grand Hotel reservation request for the Nobel Peace Prize ceremonies of December 1964.

Telegram from MLK to Mrs. Evelyn White

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Dr. King informs Mrs. White that he received the materials sent to him. He also notes that he is unable to make a decision regarding his schedule and availability.

Wednesday, November 22, 1967

Telegram from MLK to Mrs. W.E. Anderson

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Dr. King sends his condolences to the wife of Dr. Anderson and assures her that they will continue the noble endeavors that Dr. Anderson began.

Friday, June 9, 1967

Telegram from Dr. Richard Moore to MLK

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Dr. Richard Moore, on behalf of Bethune Cookman College, expresses support for Dr. King during the SCLC Voting Rights Campaign in Selma, Alabama.

Saturday, March 13, 1965

Telegram from Tina McDonald to MLK

Tina McDonald wishes Dr. King a happy birthday and is pleased to send God's blessings of courage and strength.

Telegram from Konrad Bloch to MLK

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Konrad Bloch congratulates Dr. King and says he will see him in Stockholm.

Thursday, October 15, 1964

Telegram from Winfield P. Woolf, Jr. to the SCLC Board of Strategy

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Just three days before the assassination, Winfield P. Woolf, Jr. asserts that removing Dr. King from the SCLC would be disastrous.

Sunday, March 31, 1968

Telegram from MLK to Robert Kennedy

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Dr. King informs Attorney General Robert Kennedy of Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth's arrest and expresses his concern for Shuttleworth's safety due to recent threatening activities directed toward nonviolent leaders.

Thursday, January 25, 1962

Telegram from Theodore Brown to MLK

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Mr. Brown confirms the departure date for the Nigeria Peace Mission with Dr. King.

Tuesday, January 23, 1968

Telegram from MLK to Governor Albertis Harrison

Dr. King requests an investigation into acts of police brutality committed in Petersburg, Virginia during a demonstration.

Telegram from ABC Network to Ralph David Abernathy

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A correspondent from the American Broadcasting Company Network in Washington D.C. contacts Reverend Ralph Abernathy attempting to continue an interview previously scheduled with Dr. King before his death.

Monday, April 22, 1968

Telegram from Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights to MLK

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The Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights and its executives offer support to Dr. King, who is imprisoned in the Albany jail.

Thursday, August 9, 1962

Telegram from MLK to President Johnson on State of the Union Address

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Dr. King praises President Johnson for his State of the Union address. King expresses appreciation for Johnson's continued commitment to the Great Society, his call for legislation to protect those pursuing their constitutional rights and his pledge to work diligently to end the Vietnam War.

Wednesday, January 12, 1966

Telegram from MLK to Eartha Kitt

Dr. King requests a telephone conversation with Miss Kitt.

Telegram from Russell Tuten to MLK

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Russell Tuten writes Dr. King expressing his support in extending Voting Rights and complete citizenship to all Georgia residents. Tuten states, "Georgia should be commended for its progress in conforming to the laws of the land."

Friday, July 9, 1965

Telegram from Rev. Loe Champion to MLK

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Dr. King was the recipient of this Western Union telegram from Rev. Loe Champion of the Milwaukee Operation Breadbasket, an economic project of the SCLC. Rev. Champion sent this telegram to show support for Dr. King's struggles in the South. The correspondence was sent two days after a march Dr. King led in Memphis, Tennessee in support of striking sanitation workers.

Saturday, March 30, 1968

Telegram from MLK to Attorney General Kennedy

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Dr. King writes to Attorney General Robert Kennedy regarding the safety of Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth during his 90 day jail sentence.

Thursday, January 25, 1962

Telegram from Roy Wilkins to MLK

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Roy Wilkins sends a message of warm wishes on behalf of the NAACP to Dr. King while he is serving a sentence at the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta.

Friday, October 21, 1960

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