The Archive


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 Mirzo Tursun Zade to MLK

Thursday, October 10, 1963

Mirzo Tursun Zade, Chairman of the Soviet Afro-Asian Solidarity Committee, assures Dr. King that Jews enjoy equal rights with individuals of other nationalities living in the Soviet Union.

Telegram from MLK to Senator Robert Kennedy

Monday, March 18, 1963

Dr. King requests that Senator Robert Kennedy initiate an investigation into complaints about the actions of police during demonstrations in Petersburg, Virginia.

Telegram from MLK to Fred Shuttlesworth

Dr. King provides support and encouragement to Rev. Shuttlesworth.

Telegram from Andrew Young to the Swedish Ecumenical Council

Andrew Young, Executive Assistant to Dr. King, writes the Swedish Ecumenical Council's Nils Sundholm, informing him that Dr. King can accept his invitation to host a worship service in Sweden in December as part of his trip to Europe.

Telegram from Oeberg Ruden Abrahamsson to MLK

Thursday, October 15, 1964

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

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 Dr. and Mrs. King to Rev. Samuel B. McKinney

Dr. and Mrs. King express their condolences for the passing of Reverend Samuel B. McKinney's mother.

Telegram to MLK from John Jacobs

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 MLK to the Pennsylvania State Welfare Rights Organization

Monday, March 25, 1968

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

Telegram from Dick Rettig to MLK

Thursday, October 20, 1960

Dick Rettig, President of the United States National Student Association, writes Dr. King to express the organization's solidarity with the sit-in movment.

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 Thomas Kilgore to MLK

Thomas Kilgore, on behalf of Friendship Baptist Church, offers support to Dr. King concerning the downfall of discrimination and segregation.

Telegram from President Johnson to MLK

Thursday, June 23, 1966

President Lyndon B. Johnson writes to Dr. King sympathizing with his concern over the incidents that occurred in Philadelphia, Mississippi. King was continuing the March Against Fear of James Meredith, who was shot by a sniper on June 6. A rally in Philadelphia commemorating the murder two years earlier of three civil rights activists was angrily attacked by a white mob. Homes of blacks were later sprayed with gunfire.

Telegram from the Students Union of Aarus University to MLK

Friday, October 16, 1964

The Students Union of Aarus University congratulates Dr. King for receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.

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 MLK to President Kennedy

Thursday, March 29, 1962

Dr. King recommends that President John F. Kennedy consider William H. Hastie and Thurgood Marshall for appointment to the US Supreme Court.

Telegram from Beryl Sacks to Dora McDonald

Thursday, December 14, 1967

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

Telegram from Thich Nhat Hanh to MLK

Thich Nhat Hanh expresses his support for Dr. King and conveys his desire to meet with Dr. King during his upcoming visit to Atlanta.

Telegram from MLK to President Lyndon B. Johnson

Dr. King urges President Lyndon B. Johnson to conduct a full investigation concerning the government's involvement with Medgar Evers' suspected murderer.

Telegram from Georgiana Hardy to Dora McDonald

Wednesday, August 7, 1963

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 Delmer Brown to MLK

Friday, February 5, 1965

Due to recent student activities at the University of California, Berkeley, Mr. Brown requests Dr. King's involvement in a lecture series devoted to discussing issues concerning civil disobedience.

Telegram From Alice Rewald to Dora McDonald

Thursday, September 7, 1967

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

Telegram from Dr. and Mrs. Jones to MLK

Wednesday, January 27, 1965

Dr. and Mrs. Jones congratulate Dr. King on winning the Nobel Peace Prize. They send their regrets for not being able to attend the dinner to honor Dr. King's accomplishment.

Telegram to MLK from H. Rap Brown

Tuesday, June 13, 1967

Police brutality in the black communities of Prattville, Alabama prompts this request sent to Dr. King, which seeks immediate federal investigation and protection of black prisoners.

Telegram from J.C. Willimas and George Moore to the National Education Association of America

Tuesday, October 24, 1967

Mr. Williams writes to the National Education Association of America requesting an immediate investigation take place on behalf of the Atlanta School System. He suggests that discriminatory practices are present.

Telegram from Bea Stanley to MLK

Friday, November 3, 1967

Bea Stanley writes to Dr. King during his confinement at the Jefferson County Courthouse Jail. Stanley informs him that many of his supporters and friends are concerned regarding his health and safety, and also updates him on the progress of one of his publications.

Telegram from Bennette, Calhoun and Ellis to MLK

Sunday, April 14, 1963

J.H. Calhoun, Ocelia Ellis and Fred Bennette send their prayers and support to Dr. King during Dr. King's imprisonment in the Birmingham City Jail.

Telegram from Sargent Shriver to MLK

During the year of 1967, Sargent Shriver served as Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity and created several community oriented programs. Shriver sends this telegram to Dr. King informing his support. Shriver appreciates King's ability to be forthright on the condemnation of lawless behavior and causes of social unrest. He agrees that "America must quickly develop and support adequate programs to remove these causes."

Telegram to MLK from Various Organizational Leaders

Monday, June 19, 1967

Several organizational leaders request that Dr. King join them in Washington, D.C. for an event in which Ambassador Galbraith will address a luncheon with a "major statement on Vietnam."

Telegram from C. C. Shell to MLK

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