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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 MLK to Rev. Jesse Jackson

Atlanta, GA, Washington, D.C., Chicago, IL

Dr. King writes to Rev. Jesse Jackson, urgently requesting his presence at a meeting of the Action Committee for Washington.

Telegram from Andrew Young to the Swedish Ecumenical Council

SWEDEN, Stockholm, Sweden

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 Bea Stanley to MLK

Friday, November 3, 1967
Birmingham, AL, New York, NY

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 MLK to Chris Folker

SWEDEN

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

Telegram from MLK to Eartha Kitt

Thursday, May 16, 1963
New York (NY), Alabama (AL), New York, NY, Birmingham, AL

Dr. King thanks singer-actress Eartha Kitt for her generous support and deep concern for the people of Birmingham, Alabama, and elsewhere in the South. He extends his appreciation to those in the Harlem Apollo Theatre who have contributed in response to her example.

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 Dr. and Mrs. King to the Mapp and Welch Families

Thursday, February 2, 1967
Atlanta, GA

Dr. and Mrs. Coretta Scott King express their condolences to the Mapp and Welch Families, and the West Hunter Street Baptist Church.

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 ABC Network to Ralph David Abernathy

Monday, April 22, 1968
Atlanta, GA, Washington, D.C.

A correspondent from the American Broadcasting Company Network in Washington D.C. contacts Reverend Ralph Abernathy attempting to continue an interview previously scheduled with Dr. King before his death.

Telegram from President Johnson to MLK

Thursday, June 23, 1966
Jackson, MS, Philadelphia, MS, Mississippi (MS)

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 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 Walter T. Dixon to MLK

Saturday, October 17, 1964
Baltimore, MD, Maryland (MD), Atlanta, GA, Georgia (GA)

Walter T. Dixon, a City Councilman from Baltimore, congratulates Dr. King on receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.

Telegram from MLK to Attorney General Kennedy

Thursday, January 25, 1962
Birmingham, AL, Alabama (AL), Washington, D.C., Atlanta, GA

Dr. King writes to Attorney General Robert Kennedy regarding the safety of Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth during his 90 day jail sentence.

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 MLK to President Johnson on Rhodesia

Thursday, November 11, 1965
Washington, D.C., South Africa

Dr. King urges President Johnson to respond to the unilateral declaration of independence by Prime Minister Ian Smith of Rhodesia by withdrawing American officials, refusing diplomatic recognition and severing economic ties.

Telegram from Dr. John W. Doolittle to MLK

Friday, December 11, 1964
Wisconsin (WI), UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Birmingham, AL

Dr. John W. Doolittle congratulates Dr. King on being the recipient "of an outstanding honor," and urges him to never forget the U.S.A.

Telegram from Patricia E. Smith to MLK

Wednesday, November 1, 1967
New York (NY), Alabama (AL)

Patricia E. Smith writes Dr. King to congratulate him "on dignity maintained and balanced general gently Christian position."

Telegram from MLK to Andrew Heiskell and A. Philip Randolph

Washington, D.C.

Dr. King informs Mr. Heiskell and Mr. Randolph that he will not be able to attend the emergency convocation. He also notes why this convocation is needed.

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 Terrence Hallinan to MLK

Tuesday, November 7, 1967
VIETNAM, San Francisco, CA, California (CA)

Mr. Hallinan requests Dr. King's assistance in aiding a service member undergoing a "court martial for refusal to go to Vietnam."

Telegram from Ralph Abernathy to John F. Kennedy

Thursday, June 13, 1963
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Washington, D.C.

Rev. Ralph Abernathy accepts President John F. Kennedy’s invitation to meet and discuss the civil rights problem.

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

Wednesday, January 12, 1966
Washington, D.C.

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 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 Andrew Allen to MLK

Monday, October 30, 1967
Alabama (AL), Washington, D.C., Birmingham, AL

Pastor Andrew J. Allen offers to serve Dr. King's jail term for him.

Telegram from MLK to Terry Shaw

Thursday, July 1, 1965
Selma, AL, Atlanta, GA

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

Telegram from L. M. McCoy to MLK

Friday, April 21, 1967
New York (NY), New York, NY, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, BRAZIL

L. M. McCoy telegrams Dr. King stating that the Methodist Church of Brazil is eager to have him as the Centennial speaker. McCoy believes that Dr. King can share his wisdom with Brazil leaders regarding the social conditions in America.

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 from Curtis W. Harris to Dora McDonald

Monday, April 5, 1965
Virginia (VA), Baltimore, MD, Atlanta, GA

Curtis Harris, President of the Virginia State unit of the SCLC, asks Miss McDonald to confirm some scheduled dates that have been previously discussed with Dr. King.

Telegram from University of Michigan Young Republican Club to MLK

Michigan (MI), Selma, AL, Alabama (AL)

The University of Michigan Young Republican Club informs Dr. King that they "deplore" the recent events in Selma, Alabama.

Telegram from Jack Paley to MLK

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

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."