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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.

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Telegram From Alice Rewald to Dora McDonald

Thursday, September 7, 1967
New York, NY

Alice Rewald writes to Dora McDonald in an attempt to meet with Dr. King before departing for France.

Telegram from Clark Macgregor to MLK

Tuesday, September 17, 1963
Mississippi (MS)

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

Telegram from Ebenezer Baptist Church to MLK

Friday, November 3, 1967
Alabama (AL), Birmingham, AL, Georgia (GA), Atlanta, GA

Ebenezer Baptist Church offers support to Dr. King during his incarceration in the Birmingham Jail.

Letter from L. K. Jackson to President Kennedy

Washington, D.C., Indiana (IN), Birmingham, AL

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 Governor Carl Sanders to MLK

Friday, October 15, 1965
New York (NY), Georgia (GA)

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.

Telegram from MLK to Attorney General Kennedy

Thursday, January 25, 1962
Birmingham, AL, Alabama (AL), Washington, D.C., Atlanta, GA

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

Telegram to MLK from John Jacobs

Alabama (AL), Oklahoma (OK)

John Jacobs accuses Dr. King of being associated with Communists. He proclaims that Negroes learned raping, robbing and relief with Dr. King's training.

Telegram from Supporters to MLK

Birmingham, AL

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

Telegram from MLK to Chris Folker

SWEDEN

Dr. King expresses enthusiasm regarding his upcoming trip to Sweden.

Telegram from George Houser to MLK

Thursday, November 11, 1965
New York, NY

George Houser of the American Committee on Africa urges Dr. King to telegram the President about Rhodesia's unilateral declaration of independence. The Rhodesian government, under Prime Minister Ian Smith, took this illegal action to break from the United Kingdom after days of negotiation with British Prime Minister Harold Wilson. The British sought to give blacks a fair share of power.

Telegram from MLK to Dr. Vernon W. Stone

Maryland (MD), Atlanta, GA, Georgia (GA)

Dr. King commends Dr. Vernon Stone on his superb teaching career and upcoming move to become the first Negro professor at a University in Atlanta.

Telegram from C. C. Shell to MLK

Georgia (GA)

C. C. Shells writes Dr. King suggesting that segregationist Lester Maddox run for President of the United State with Dr. King as Vice President.

Telegram from Mrs. J W E Bowen and Mrs. S F Crank to MLK

Wednesday, January 27, 1965
Atlanta, GA

Mrs. J W E Bowen and Mrs. S F Crank write Dr. King expressing their joy in having a spiritual leader who challenges them to be active in the movement.

Telegram from Walter T. Dixon to MLK

Saturday, October 17, 1964
Baltimore, MD, Maryland (MD), Atlanta, GA, Georgia (GA)

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

Telegram from MLK to President Johnson about VISTA Director

Thursday, September 15, 1966
Washington, D.C.

Dr. King writes President Johnson recommending that Dr. Maurice Dawkins become the new director of VISTA.

Telegram from CEP & SCLC to Essie Bizzell

Tuesday, August 17, 1965
Selma, AL, Georgia (GA)

Staff from the CEP and SCLC inform Essie Bizzell that a chartered bus will be leaving from the SCLC office for McIntosh, Georgia and they are taking care of all the expenses.

Telegram from Gordon Carey to MLK

Thursday, October 20, 1960
New York, NY, Georgia (GA), New York (NY), Atlanta, GA

Gordon Carey of CORE wishes Dr. King well during his imprisonment in the Fulton County Jail.

Telegram from King Children to Master Billy Watchel

Thursday, January 2, 1969
New York (NY)

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

Telegram from MLK to President Eisenhower

Thursday, August 13, 1959
Atlanta, GA, New York, NY, Washington, D.C.

This is the text of a telegram Dr. King sent to President Eisenhower regarding the contemporaneous events of the opening of desegregated schools and the arrival of Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev.

Telegram from MLK to the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne

Monday, February 27, 1967
UNITED KINGDOM

Dr. Kings sends a telegram notifying the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne in England of his acceptance of their honorary degree.

Telegram from Mrs. Adams and Son to MLK

Sunday, September 21, 1958
New York (NY), New York, NY

Mrs. Adams and her son wish Dr. King a "speedy recovery."

Telegram from Mr. Aubrey Williams to MLK

Sunday, October 23, 1960
Nashville, TN, Atlanta, GA, New Orleans, LA, Tennessee (TN), Louisiana (LA), Georgia (GA)

Members of the Board of The Southern Conference Educational Fund write to Dr. King and express their admiration for the stand he has taken.

Telegram from Stanley Levison to Coretta Scott King

Friday, January 17, 1969
ITALY

Stanley Levison warns Mrs. King about interceding between governments.

Telegram from Wyatt T. Walker to President Kennedy

Thursday, June 13, 1963
Washington, D.C.

Wyatt T. Walker confirms his attendance at a meeting with President Kennedy at the White House.

Telegram from Rev. Ralph Abernathy to MLK

Monday, December 18, 1961
Albany, GA, Georgia (GA)

Rev. Ralph Abernathy sends best wishes to Dr. King and everyone affiliated with the Civil Rights Movement. Rev. Abernathy is disheartened because he is not present to assist with the movement, but assures Dr. King that he wants to be an active participant.

Telegram from Dow Kirkpatrick to MLK and Mrs. King

Wednesday, January 27, 1965
Illinois (IL), Atlanta, GA, Georgia (GA)

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

Telegram from MLK to President John F. Kennedy

Friday, March 30, 1962
Washington, D.C.

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.

Telegram from Leslie Dewart to MLK

Monday, July 19, 1965
CANADA

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

Telegram from B. Hicks to Herbert Coulton

Tuesday, August 3, 1965
Virginia (VA)

B. Hicks telegrams Herbert Coulton stating that he will pay for his transportation and expenses during his visit.

Telegram from Icabod Flewellen to MLK

Wednesday, April 26, 1967
Cleveland, OH, Ohio (OH)

Icabod Flewellen welcomes Dr. King to Cleveland, Ohio.