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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 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

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 Mathew Ahmann to MLK

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The Director of the National Catholic Conference on Interracial Justice offers the support of his organization during Dr. King's imprisonment in Birmingham Jail.

Thursday, November 2, 1967

Telegram from Governor Carl Sanders to MLK

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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 The Mathis Family to MLK

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The Mathis family sends their support to Dr. King during his incarceration in the Birmingham City Jail.

Monday, April 15, 1963

Telegram from Elizabeth Polste to MLK

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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 from Supporters to MLK

This telegram of support was sent to Dr. King while incarcerated in the Bessemer County Jail.

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

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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 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 Joan Baez

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Dr. King sends encouraging words to Joan Baez, an American singer and civil rights activist, who is imprisoned at Santa Rita Rehabilitation Center.

Friday, December 29, 1967

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 Rev. T. A. Borders to Mrs. King

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Rev. Borders conveys his prayers to Mrs. King, on behalf of the First Community Baptist Church.

Monday, May 13, 1968

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 John P. O'Rourke to MLK

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John P. O'Rourke writes Dr. King to express his support of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Thursday, March 28, 1968

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 Francis Lucas to Lucille Banta

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Francis Lucas, assistant to Coretta Scott King, informs Lucille Banta of a scheduling conflict. She also requests information about which people "have agreed to sign the cable gram to His Holiness Pope Paul."

Friday, January 17, 1969

Telegram from Clark Macgregor to MLK

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Clark Macgregor sends a telegram to Dr. King informing him of his vote against the dismissal of the Mississippi Challenge.

Tuesday, September 17, 1963

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 Al C. Hastings to MLK

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Al Hastings expresses his concern during Dr. King's incarceration in the Jefferson County Jail.

Tuesday, October 31, 1967

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