Themes

The Archive

Digital Archive brought to you
by JPMorgan Chase & Co.

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.

Explore another theme

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 Oeberg Ruden Abrahamsson to MLK

Thursday, October 15, 1964
Atlanta, GA, Stockholm, Sweden, Georgia (GA), SWEDEN, London, England, UNITED KINGDOM

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

Telegram from Charles Evers to MLK

Tuesday, October 25, 1966
Jackson, MS

This telegram, from board members of MAP, expresses their dissatisfaction with Dr. King's comments regarding refunding efforts of the Child Development Group of Mississippi.

Telegram from Ruth Peggy and Cheri Bryant to MLK

Saturday, December 23, 1967
Kentucky (KY), Louisville, KY

Ruth Peggy and Cheri Bryant express their gratitude for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's assistance.

Telegram from Memphis Sanitation Workers' to MLK

Sunday, October 1, 1967
Atlanta, GA, Memphis, TN, Tennessee (TN)

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.

Telegram from Joseph Lowery to Wyatt Walker

Friday, November 3, 1967
Birmingham, AL

Reverend Joseph E. Lowery writes to Reverend Wyatt Walker acknowledging his support of Walker's "sacrifice in behalf of freedom and justice for all."

Telegram from Donna Jean Stancliff to MLK

Thursday, December 28, 1967
Washington, D.C., Norfolk, VA, Atlanta, GA

Donna Jean Stancliff informs Dr. King of Mrs. Zelma G. Proctor's funeral.

Telegram from MLK to Edward M. Kennedy

Washington, D.C.

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

Telegram from President Johnson to Bernard Lee

Sunday, May 29, 1966
Washington, D.C.

Dr. King's special assistant, Bernard Lee, was the recipient of this telegram requesting his presence at a White House conference called by President Johnson. The theme of the conference was "To Fulfill These Rights."

Telegram Plea to Dr. King

Friday, March 29, 1968
California (CA)

An American citizen writes Dr. King pleading for him not to blame whites for all of the misunderstandings in the US.

Telegram from Joseph Anderson to MLK

Philadelphia, PA, Pennsylvania (PA)

Joseph Anderson urges Dr. King to "call forth a day of prayer" to ease the uproar, most notably overshadowing such U.S. cities as Detroit and Newark during the long, hot summer of 1967.

Telegram from Bishop Ljungberg Dean Zetterberg to MLK

Thursday, October 15, 1964
Stockholm, Sweden, Oslo, Norway, Atlanta, GA

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.

Telegram from MLK to Mrs. Lovie M. Lowe

Monday, August 23, 1965
Cincinnati, OH

Dr. King attempts to mediate between Mrs. Lowe and her pastor, the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth.

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 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 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 Elizabeth J. Miller to MLK

Thursday, November 2, 1967
Birmingham, AL

Elizabeth Miller, the Executive Director of the Christian Social Concern division of the American Baptist Convention, extends support to Dr. King while he is in the Jefferson County Jail in 1967. She expresses gratitude for Dr. King's leadership and commends him for his non-violent action.

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

Georgia (GA), Atlanta, GA

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 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 Sargent Shriver to Coretta King

Tuesday, November 14, 1967
Washington, D.C., Atlanta, GA

Sargent Shriver, American statesmen, activist, founder of Job Corps and Peace Crops, expresses gratitude for Mrs. King's public endorsement of the war against poverty.

Telegram from Eddie S. Carter to MLK

Wednesday, November 1, 1967
Birmingham, AL, Alabama (AL)

Mr. Carter expresses his appreciation to Dr. King and the SCLC. He also informs Dr. King that he has recently made a contribution the organization and shall continuously do so.

Telegram from Dr. and Mrs. King to Dr. and Mrs. Sullivan Jackson

Selma, AL

Dr. and Mrs. King offer their condolences to Dr. and Mrs. Sullivan in the passing of Mrs. Portlock. The King's highlight Mrs. Portlock's positive attributes and her great inspirational influence.

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 Roy Wilkins to MLK

Wednesday, October 11, 1967
New York, NY, NIGERIA, Atlanta, GA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

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.

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 Josephine Jones to MLK

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

Ms. Jones, President of the Metropolitan Community Leaders, writes to Dr. King about Albert Shanker's stance on African American education.

Telegram from MLK to Chris Folker

SWEDEN

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

Telegram from Rev. T. A. Borders to Mrs. King

Monday, May 13, 1968
Los Angeles, CA, Atlanta, GA

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

Telegram from Theodore Brown to MLK

Tuesday, January 23, 1968
NIGERIA, New York, NY, New York (NY)

Mr. Brown confirms the departure date for the Nigeria Peace Mission with Dr. King.

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.