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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 John Dempsey to President John F. Kennedy

Monday, July 30, 1962

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."

Telegram from Dow Kirkpatrick to MLK and Mrs. King

Wednesday, January 27, 1965

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

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 L. M. McCoy to MLK

Friday, May 12, 1967

L. M. McCoy telegrams Dr. King expressing the urgency that the Methodist Church of Brazil receive a reply to their invitation for him to speak at their Centennial celebration in Brazil.

Telegram from Civil Rights Leaders to President Kennedy

Monday, September 16, 1963

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 Hosea Williams to President Johnson

Tuesday, August 3, 1965

Hosea Williams writes to President Lyndon B. Johnson requesting an investigation of the Andy Whatley murder.

Telegram from MLK Congratulating Georgia Legislators Elect

Friday, June 18, 1965

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."

Telegram from B. Hicks to Herbert Coulton

Tuesday, August 3, 1965

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

Telegram from Duncan Wood to MLK

Monday, September 25, 1967

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

Telegram to MLK from Truman B. Douglass

Thursday, November 24, 1966

Truman B. Douglass, the chairman of the National Citizens Committee for the Child Development Group of Mississippi (CDGM), informs Dr. King that he has appealed to President Johnson for a meeting regarding the funding of CDGM.

Telegram from MLK to Reverend F. D. Reece

Saturday, January 11, 1964

Dr. King congratulates Selma, Alabama Reverend F. D. Reese for demonstrating on behalf of teachers fighting injustice.

Telegram from Oslo, Norway to Dora McDonald

Thursday, November 5, 1964

Dr. King receives this telegram as an advance welcome to Oslo, Norway and to confirm lodging reservations for him and his associates.

Telegram from A. Philip Randolph to MLK

Friday, October 14, 1966

A. Philip Randolph expresses his discontent with the release of a manifesto from civil rights leaders without Dr. King's signature.

Telegram from the Faculty of Howard University School of Law to MLK

The faculty of Howard University's Law School offers to assist Dr. King in the fight against social injustice in Alabama.

Telegram from President Johnson to Bernard Lee

Sunday, May 29, 1966

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 from Leslie Dewart to MLK

Monday, July 19, 1965

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

Telegram from C.K. Steele to MLK

Saturday, October 22, 1960

Rev. Steele expresses his appreciation for Dr. King's career and assures Dr. King that he is not walking alone.

Telegram from Mrs. Dorothy Johnson to MLK

Thursday, November 2, 1967

Mrs. Dorothy Johnson writes Dr. King to express her support of his endeavors while he is in jail in Birmingham, Alabama.

Telegram from MLK to Mrs. H. H. Hubbard

Friday, September 15, 1967

Dr. King sends his condolences to Mrs. H. H. Hubbard following the death of her husband. Dr. King also mentions the importance of Dr. Hubbard's contributions to the Montgomery bus boycott.

Telegram from Committee of Concerned Mothers to MLK

Monday, February 22, 1965

The Committee of Concerned Mothers for Mrs. Malcolm X and Family writes to Dr. King requesting the SCLC to help assist Mrs. Malcolm X and her four children in the wake of her husband's assassination.

Telegram from Stanley G. Grizzle to MLK

Monday, September 13, 1965

Stanley G. Grizzle, Chairman of the Toronto chapter of the Martin Luther King Fund, urges Dr. King to accept the International Teach-In invitation.

Telegram from MLK to President Johnson on State of the Union Address

Wednesday, January 12, 1966

Dr. King praises President Johnson for his State of the Union address. King expresses appreciation for Johnson's continued commitment to the Great Society, his call for legislation to protect those pursuing their constitutional rights and his pledge to work diligently to end the Vietnam War.

Telegram from Carl and Anne Braden to MLK

Monday, October 24, 1960

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

Telegram from MLK to Chris Folker

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

Telegram from MLK to Mrs. W.E. Anderson

Friday, June 9, 1967

Dr. King sends his condolences to the wife of Dr. Anderson and assures her that they will continue the noble endeavors that Dr. Anderson began.

Telegram from CEP & SCLC to Essie Bizzell

Tuesday, August 17, 1965

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 MLK to Terry Shaw

Thursday, July 1, 1965

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

Telegram from I.W. and Helen Grizzard to MLK

Tuesday, October 31, 1967

I.W. and Helen Grizzard encourage Dr. King to "endure to the end in God's loving light" while King is in jail in Bessemer, Alabama.

Telegram from A. G. Downing to MLK

Monday, October 19, 1964

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

Telegram from Donna Jean Stancliff to MLK

Thursday, December 28, 1967

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