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 Jacob K. Javits to MLK

Amidst the confusion of varying interpretations, Senator Jacob K. Javits asks Dr. King to share his interpretation of the term "black power," so that it can serve as a guide to others.

Telegram from Lee C. White to MLK

Wednesday, September 18, 1963

Lee C. White, Assistant Special Counsel to the President, confirms a meeting with President Kennedy and Dr. King to discuss the Birmingham bombing incident.

Telegram from Richard C. Gilman to Dora McDonald

Saturday, November 12, 1966

Richard C. Gilman sends this telegram to Dora McDonald confirming Dr. King's speaking engagement at Occidental College.

Telegram from Mrs. Frances Lucas to C. T. Vivian and Alvin Pitcher

Thursday, January 9, 1969

Mrs. Lucas informs Mr. Vivian and Mr. Pitcher of Mrs. King's unavailability to speak at the YMCA in Chicago. A memorial service in honor of Dr. King is scheduled on the same date in Atlanta.

Telegram from President John F. Kennedy to MLK

Wednesday, June 12, 1963

President John F. Kennedy invites Dr. King to a meeting of religious leaders to discuss the nation's civil rights problem.

Telegram from Dr. Albert Davis to MLK

Wednesday, August 16, 1967

Dr. Albert Davis and the Atlanta Chapter of the NAACP praise Dr. King for his "continued leadership and revolutionary ideas."

Telegram from Bishop Ljungberg Dean Zetterberg to MLK

Thursday, October 15, 1964

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 To Dr. King Awarding A Grant

Thursday, June 29, 1967

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 MLK to Reverend N. C. Burtenshaw

Wednesday, March 27, 1968

Dr. King sends his condolences for the death of Archbishop Paul Hallinan.

Telegram from Wyatt Tee Walker

Saturday, July 28, 1962

Walker sends out this telegram to inform its recipients that Dr. King and Rev. Abernathy have been unjustly arrested in Albany, Georgia.

Telegram Text from MLK to USAG Robert Kennedy

Sunday, October 6, 1963

Dr. King requests that Attorney General Robert Kennedy intervene in New Orleans to prevent further intimidation of civil rights supporters by police.

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

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.

Telegram from Jack Paley to MLK

Jack Paley informs Dr. King that he has the support of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union as Dr. King works "to win decent treatment for Negroes in public facilities of Atlanta."

Telegram from John P. O'Rourke to MLK

Thursday, March 28, 1968

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

Telegram from N. K. Steele to MLK

N. K. Steele, on behalf of Bethel Baptist Church, offers prayers to Dr. King during his stay in the Care County Jail in Americus, Georgia.

Telegram from John Moore to MLK

Monday, April 10, 1967

John Moore questions Dr. King's Vietnam stance by suggesting that it harms the Civil Rights Movement.

Telegram from Mrs. Terry Brown to MLK

Monday, March 8, 1965

Mrs. Terry Brown writes Dr. King reflecting on her participation in the Great Freedom March. She also expresses to Dr. King how his words are a source of inspiration.

Telegram from Mrs. Willie Bass to MLK

Thursday, September 23, 1954

Mrs. Willie M. Bass sent this telegram expressing her hope for Dr. King's speedy recovery during his stay at Harlem Hospital.

Telegram from Andrew Young to Rev. George W. Gunn

Friday, August 6, 1965

Reverend Andrew Young informs Reverend George Gunn of the Presbyterian University Center that he will not be in attendance at the Campus Ministry Association meeting due to an emergency situation in Americus, Georgia that requires his special attention.

Telegram from Mrs. King to Canon L. John Collins

Friday, January 3, 1969

Mrs. King confirms with Canon L. John Collins the dates of her visit to England.

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 Charles Evers to MLK

Tuesday, October 25, 1966

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 Roy Wilkins to MLK

Thursday, November 28, 1963

SCLC Chairman Roy Wilkins invites Dr. King to join other civil rights leaders in honoring President John F. Kennedy, as the they seek to promote the idea of civil rights.

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 Operation Breadbasket Leaders to Ivan Allen

Tuesday, November 14, 1967

This telegram originates from leaders of the Atlanta chapter of Operation Breadbasket and urges the Mayor to take action on employment opportunities for African-Americans.

Telegram from Sargent Shriver to Coretta King

Tuesday, November 14, 1967

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 Arnold Aronson to MLK

Arnold Aronson requests Dr. King's opinion regarding the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights endorsing the anti-poverty bill.

Telegram from MLK to Katie B. Whickham

Thursday, July 27, 1967

Dr. King welcomes Mrs. Whickham and the National Beauty Culturist League to Atlanta. He also thanks Mrs. Whickham for the support that her organizations has given to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

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 Jack Greenberg

Dr. King informs Jack Greenberg that he agrees with a plan to dissolve the Leadership Conference.