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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 MLK to Robert Sarnoff

Dr. King commends Robert Sarnoff and NBC for sponsoring Harry Belafonte's guest role on the "Tonight Show."

Telegram from Oslo, Norway to Dora McDonald

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Dr. King receives this telegram as an advance welcome to Oslo, Norway and to confirm lodging reservations for him and his associates.

Thursday, November 5, 1964

Telegram to MLK from the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women's Club

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The New York Chapter of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women's Club wishes a speedy recovery to Dr. King while he is hospitalized in Harlem Hospital.

Wednesday, September 24, 1958

Telegram from Curtis Harris to Coretta Scott King

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Mr. Harris, President of Virginia's SCLC chapter, congratulates Mrs. King on Dr. King's winning the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize.

Thursday, October 15, 1964

Telegram from the James A. Bailey Family to MLK

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The James A. Bailey family offers its prayers for Dr. King's recovery.

Monday, September 22, 1958

Telegram from Georgiana Hardy to Dora McDonald

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Georgiana Hardy, president of the Los Angeles City Board of Education, requests a meeting with Dr. King's upon his upcoming visit to California.

Wednesday, August 7, 1963

Telegram from MLK to Mrs. H. H. Hubbard

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Dr. King sends his condolences to Mrs. H. H. Hubbard following the death of her husband. Dr. King also mentions the importance of Dr. Hubbard's contributions to the Montgomery bus boycott.

Friday, September 15, 1967

Telegram from MLK to Edward M. Kennedy

Dr. King expresses his gratification to Senator Edward M. Kennedy for sponsoring the amendment to abolish the poll tax in state elections.

Telegram from Frederick Dennard to MLK

Reverend Frederick Dennard, Executive Director of the Harlem Interfaith Counseling Service, invites Dr. King to speak at a fundraising banquet.

Telegram from Bishop Ljungberg Dean Zetterberg to MLK

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Bishop Ljungberg Dean Zetterberg writes Dr. King on behalf of the Cathedral in Stockholm congratulating him on receiving the Nobel Peace Prize and invites him to attend a peace service.

Thursday, October 15, 1964

Telegram from Dr. and Mrs. King to John H. Calhoun

Dr. and Mrs. King deliver their condolences for the recent passing of Mason, brother of John H. Calhoun. The Kings informs Mr. Calhoun that he is not alone in his hour of mourning and that the community is also suffering this great loss.

Telegram from Walter T. Dixon to MLK

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Walter T. Dixon, a City Councilman from Baltimore, congratulates Dr. King on receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.

Saturday, October 17, 1964

Telegram from Carl and Anne Braden to MLK

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Carl and Anne Braden offer their support to Dr. King while he remains in the Fulton County Jail.

Monday, October 24, 1960

Telegram from Leslie Dewart to MLK

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On behalf of The International Teach-in Committee, Professor Dewart invites Dr. King to participate teach-in in Toronto.

Monday, July 19, 1965

Telegram to MLK from Various Organizational Leaders

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Several organizational leaders request that Dr. King join them in Washington, D.C. for an event in which Ambassador Galbraith will address a luncheon with a "major statement on Vietnam."

Monday, June 19, 1967

Telegram from MLK to Honorable Daniel Evans

Dr. King writes to the Honorable Daniel Evans requesting that he intercede in the controversy resulting from Washington State's conservation law and a 111-year old treaty.

Telegram from Mrs. Frances Lucas to C. T. Vivian and Alvin Pitcher

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Mrs. Lucas informs Mr. Vivian and Mr. Pitcher of Mrs. King's unavailability to speak at the YMCA in Chicago. A memorial service in honor of Dr. King is scheduled on the same date in Atlanta.

Thursday, January 9, 1969

Telegram to MLK from H. Rap Brown

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Police brutality in the black communities of Prattville, Alabama prompts this request sent to Dr. King, which seeks immediate federal investigation and protection of black prisoners.

Tuesday, June 13, 1967

Telegram from Roy Wilkins to MLK

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Mr. Wilkins invites Dr. King to attend a meeting with Dr. K. O. Mbadiwe, former Nigerian Minister, and other Negro leaders in the United States to discuss the increasing conflict in Nigeria.

Wednesday, October 11, 1967

Telegram To Dr. King Awarding A Grant

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In this telegram to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mr. Roberts of the Contracts Branch US Office of Education informs Dr. King that his proposal entitled, "A Demonstration - Basic Adult Education Project for Urban Negroes," has been approved.

Thursday, June 29, 1967

Telegram from MLK to John F. Kennedy

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Dr. King writes to President John F. Kennedy about the President's speech to the nation. Dr. King writes that he found the speech to be most eloquent and unequivocal.

Tuesday, June 11, 1963

Telegram from MLK to Nicholas Biddle

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Dr. King apologizes to Nicholas Biddle for being unable to attend the testimonial for Senator Jacob Javits.

Friday, March 16, 1962

Telegram from Thomas Penna to MLK

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Thomas A. Penna, the president of the Interracial Council of Buffalo, lists his concerns related to a poverty bill that will be debated the next day. Penna points out that the bill will harm impoverished Negroes, who are already being denied their right to vote. Penna urges Dr. King to address these issues during his upcoming speech in Buffalo, New York.

Monday, November 6, 1967

Telegram from Dow Kirkpatrick to MLK and Mrs. King

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Dow Kirkpatrick congratulates Dr. King and apologizes for his absence at the event.

Wednesday, January 27, 1965

Telegram from Rev. Phillip J. Bailey to MLK

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Rev. Bailey, on behalf of the Interdenominational Ministers Meeting of Greater New York, wishes Dr. King well in his recovery.

Monday, September 22, 1958

Letter from L. K. Jackson to President Kennedy

Dr. Jackson produces a copy of this telegram sent to President John F. Kennedy, in which he requests the president use his executive power to suppress violent racial tensions in the South. This telegram was prompted by the bombing of a church in Birmingham, Alabama that killed four little girls.

Telegram from Marvin Rich to MLK

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Marvin Rich informs Dr. King of a resolution that was adopted at a recent conference. The resolution called for a summit of civil rights leaders.

Tuesday, July 26, 1966

Telegram from Mrs. King on Meaning of Christmas

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Mrs. King expresses sadness that the United States is launching a new dimension in its space program, but spends so little on eliminating poverty, hunger, disease, war and racism.

Thursday, December 19, 1968

Telegram from MLK to the Pennsylvania State Welfare Rights Organization

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Dr. King states his support for demonstrations by the Pennsylvania State Welfare Rights Organization.

Monday, March 25, 1968

Telegram from Reverend Fred L Shuttlesworth to MLK

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Reverend Ralph D. Abernathy assures Dr. King that the nation extends their congratulations and prayer for his success. Reverend Abernathy asserts that as soldiers of freedom, they must "win this battle" for their country and that there "can be no retreat" in the movement.

Friday, July 20, 1962

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