The Archive

Digital Archive brought to you
by JPMorgan Chase & Co.


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 Edwin Berry to MLK


Edwin Berry congratulates Dr. King on receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.

Wednesday, October 14, 1964

Telegram from SCLC to Ella Mae Moton


Staff of the SCLC and Citizenship Education Program inform Ella Mae Moton that her expenses for the trip to Georgia will be taken care of.

Tuesday, August 17, 1965

Telegram from Mathew Ahmann to MLK


Mathew Ahmann, on behalf of the National Catholic Conference for Interracial Justice, congratulates the Southern Christian Leadership Conference for a decade of leadership.

Thursday, August 17, 1967

Telegram from Roy Wilkins to MLK


SCLC Chairman Roy Wilkins invites Dr. King to join other civil rights leaders in honoring President John F. Kennedy, as the they seek to promote the idea of civil rights.

Thursday, November 28, 1963

Telegram from Thich Nhat Hanh to MLK


Thich Nhat Hanh informs Dr. King that he will be in Atlanta from February 24th to February 29th.

Saturday, February 24, 1968

Telegram from Andrew Young to Moreland Griffith Smith


Andrew Young informs Moreland Griffith Smith Sr. that he will be unable to attend a meeting in Montgomery, Alabama. Reverend James Bevel will attend the meeting instead.

Thursday, February 25, 1965

Telegram from MLK to Derhanov Dinke

Dr. King informs Ambassador Derhanov Dinke that it is his pleasure to serve as Honorary President for the Gandhi Society for Human Rights. He invites Ambassador Dinke to attend a luncheon at the Sheraton Carlton Hotel in Washington, D. C.

Telegram from Thomas Kilgore to MLK

Thomas Kilgore, on behalf of Friendship Baptist Church, offers support to Dr. King concerning the downfall of discrimination and segregation.

Telegram from Dr. and Mrs. King to Sadye Brooks


Dr. and Mrs. King offer their condolences to the Brooks family on the recent loss of their beloved husband and father.

Friday, April 28, 1967

Telegram from L. V. Booth and Otis Moss to MLK

Dr. L. V. Booth and Reverend Otis Moss thank Dr. King and the SCLC for their efforts during the last ten years.

Telegram from Governor Carl Sanders to MLK


In this telegram, Governor Sanders informs Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that he will not be able to attend Ebenezer Baptist Church's Annual Layman's Day.

Friday, October 15, 1965

Telegram from Harry G. Boyte to Rev. John Papandrew

Harry Boyte expresses his happiness that Rev. John Papandrew will be working with the SCLC.

Telegram from Elizabeth Polste to MLK


Mrs. Polste writes to Dr. King requesting a tribute for Emily Greene, who is also a Noble Peace Laureate and a founder of the Womens International League for Peace and Freedom.

Wednesday, December 28, 1966

Telegram to W. L. James from Dr. and Ms. King


Dr. and Mrs. King write Mrs. James expressing condolences following the death of her husband. Dr. James was a music educator at Spelman College and a 1923 graduate of Morehouse College . He served as Chairman of the Music Department at Spelman and Director of the Glee Club from 1933 to 1966. Dr. James died December 27, 1966.

Monday, January 2, 1967

Telegram from MLK to John F. Kennedy


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 Thomas Penna to MLK


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 Rev. Phillip J. Bailey to MLK


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 Mrs. King on Meaning of Christmas


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 John Dempsey to President John F. Kennedy


John Dempsey, Governor of Connecticut, telegrams President John F. Kennedy urging "the full force of the federal government be used to assure the personal safety of Dr. King and his associates who are asserting their rights as citizens."

Monday, July 30, 1962

Telegram from Dr. and Mrs. King to Rev. Samuel B. McKinney

Dr. and Mrs. King express their condolences for the passing of Reverend Samuel B. McKinney's mother.

Telegram from MLK to Robert Kennedy


Dr. King issues an urgent request for Robert Kennedy's immediate involvement in the prosecution of four students who were arrested while engaged in a peaceful demonstration in Jackson, Mississippi. Dr. King has also received information of gross violations of the students' constitutional rights.

Monday, June 4, 1962

Telegram from Memphis Sanitation Workers' to MLK


Members of the Memphis Sanitation Workers' Strike express an urgent need for Dr. King to travel to Memphis in order to aid them in their crusade.

Sunday, October 1, 1967

Telegram from MLK to the Fairmont Hotel


Dr. King writes to the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco California, requesting a reservation of two single rooms.

Saturday, September 16, 1967

Letter from MLK to Attorney General Robert Kennedy


Dr. King writes to Attorney General Robert Kennedy requesting an investigation in Williamston, NC to relieve the Negro community from violence and "unconstitutional police action."

Tuesday, March 31, 1964

Telegram from Mark O. Hatfield to MLK

Mark Hatfield declines an invitation from Dr. King due to other commitments.

Telegram from Dr. and Mrs. King to Uvee Arbouin

Dr. and Mrs. King write Uvee Arbouin to commend her Christian leadership and devotion to Jesus Christ.

Telegram from MLK to Eartha Kitt


Dr. King thanks singer-actress Eartha Kitt for her generous support and deep concern for the people of Birmingham, Alabama, and elsewhere in the South. He extends his appreciation to those in the Harlem Apollo Theatre who have contributed in response to her example.

Thursday, May 16, 1963

Telegram from Oeberg Ruden Abrahamsson to MLK


The Baptist Union of Sweden congratulates Dr. King on winning the Nobel Peace Prize. The group also invites Dr. King to Sweden.

Thursday, October 15, 1964

Telegram from MLK to Terry Shaw


Dr. King telegrams Terry Shaw stating that the staff of SCLC sends their "deepest sympathy" in his time of grief.

Thursday, July 1, 1965