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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 Abraham Heschel to MLK

Thursday, November 2, 1967
Alabama (AL)

Abraham Heschel tells Dr. King that he has a deep identification with the goals that Dr. King is dedicated to and offers him encouragement.

Telegram from Mark O. Hatfield to MLK

Oregon (OR)

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

Telegram from Duncan Wood to MLK

Monday, September 25, 1967
Atlanta, GA, Georgia (GA)

Telegram from Duncan Wood on behalf of the Oslo Committee, hoping to arrange interviews in Moscow with Dr. King and Father Pire.

Telegram from Ambassador Ade Martins to MLK

NIGERIA

This telegram was sent to Dr. King and Theodore Brown by N. Ade Martins, the Ambassador of Nigeria. He explains the reaction of Lt. Col. Yakubu Gowon, the commander in chief of the armed forces, to Dr. King's letter concerning the violence in Nigeria.

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 Thich Nhat Hanh to MLK

Saturday, February 24, 1968
Missouri (MO), VIETNAM

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

Telegram from MLK to Chris Folker

SWEDEN

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

Telegram To Dr. King Awarding A Grant

Thursday, June 29, 1967
Washington, D.C.

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.

Telegram from Carl and Anne Braden to MLK

Monday, October 24, 1960
Louisville, KY, Kentucky (KY), Atlanta, GA, Georgia (GA)

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

Telegram from Alfred Duckett to Mrs. King

Friday, October 30, 1964
New York, NY

Alfred Duckett asks Mrs. King to airmail her "program breakdown" to meet a printing deadline.

Telegram to MLK Regarding Honor Group MLK

Thursday, May 25, 1967
Ohio (OH), Cleveland, OH

In this telegram, sponsor Virginia Price Principal Clarence Fitch write to Dr. King to see if they can name Honor Group Martin Luther King a chapter of the National Junior Honor Society, at Roosevelt Junior High in Cleveland.

Telegram from Curtis Harris to Coretta Scott King

Thursday, October 15, 1964
Virginia (VA), Atlanta, GA

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

Telegram from MLK to Sargent Shriver

Friday, May 12, 1967
Washington, D.C., Alabama (AL)

Dr. King commends Mr. Shriver and the Office of Economic Opportunity for funding the Southwest Alabama Farmers Cooperative Association. Dr. King asserts that this decision is a positive step in the War on Poverty that will directly affect countless numbers of impoverished people.

Telegram from Civil Rights Leaders to President Kennedy

Monday, September 16, 1963
Washington, D.C., Atlanta, GA, Birmingham, AL, Georgia (GA), Alabama (AL)

Members of the SCLC and prominent civil rights leaders request an immediate conference with President John F. Kennedy regarding the 1963 Birmingham church bombing.

Telegram from Marvin Rich to MLK

Tuesday, July 26, 1966
South Carolina (SC), New York, NY, New York (NY)

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.

Telegram from United States House of Representatives to MLK

Thursday, March 25, 1965
Washington, D.C., Alabama (AL), Montgomery, AL

The United States House of Representatives congratulates Dr. King and other leaders on their march to Montgomery, Alabama. They believe that the march will be recognized as the "beginning of genuine democracy" in American history.

Invitation to SCLF Celebration from MLK

Tuesday, October 24, 1967
Atlanta, GA, Philadelphia, PA

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.

Telegram From the National Committee For Free Elections to MLK Regarding 1967 Sunflower County, Mississippi Elections

New York (NY), New York, NY, Atlanta, GA, Georgia (GA), Mississippi (MS)

Dr. King requests a meeting with Attorney General William Ramsey Clark, to discuss the need for federal voting registrars to oversee upcoming elections in rural Mississippi counties. In these elections, Negroes will run as candidates for the first time in American history.

Telegram from George Woods to MLK

Friday, July 30, 1965
Philadelphia, PA

George Woods, Vice President of the Philadelphia Branch of the NAACP, telegrams Dr. King regarding his upcoming visit. Woods asks about a rumor being spread that Dr. King would not make the appearance because King was allegedly being hosted by the Quaker Fellowship House. The trip was called off and then rescheduled.

Telegram from James Endicott to MLK

Tuesday, December 12, 1967
VIETNAM, CANADA, Atlanta, GA, Georgia (GA)

James Endicott writes to Dr. King inviting him to address the mass rally in Toronto with the theme being Vietnam, civil rights and world peace.

Telegram from MLK to the Pennsylvania State Welfare Rights Organization

Monday, March 25, 1968
Philadelphia, PA, Pennsylvania (PA)

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

Telegram from Russell Tuten to MLK

Friday, July 9, 1965
Georgia (GA), Washington, D.C., Atlanta, GA

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."

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 John P. O'Rourke to MLK

Thursday, March 28, 1968
Atlanta, GA, New Jersey (NJ)

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

Telegram from A. G. Downing to MLK

Monday, October 19, 1964
Los Angeles, CA, California (CA)

A. G. Downing, executive secretary of the Southern California Baptist Convention, congratulates Dr. King on receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.

Telegram from Beryl Sacks to Dora McDonald

Thursday, December 14, 1967
Chicago, IL, Atlanta, GA, Wisconsin (WI)

Ms. Beryl Sacks inquires about the availability of Dr. King to speak for the Speakers Bureau Adult Education Council.

Telegram from Harry Belafonte to Coretta Scott King

New York, NY

In this telegram, Mr. Belafonte sympathizes with Mrs. King as she is preparing for Dr. King's sentence of four months in prison.

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 Georgiana Hardy to Dora McDonald

Wednesday, August 7, 1963
California (CA), Los Angeles, CA, Georgia (GA), Atlanta, GA

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

Telegram from Dr. Roland Smith to MLK

Friday, June 2, 1967
Atlanta, GA

Dr. Roland Smith congratulates Dr. King on being honored with a Doctor of Divinity Degree from Morehouse College.