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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. N. C. Burtenshaw

Wednesday, March 27, 1968

Dr. King sends his condolence to Rev. Burtenshaw of the Catholic Archdioceses of Atlanta for the death of Archbishop Hallinan.

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 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 MLK to the Fairmont Hotel

Saturday, September 16, 1967

Dr. King writes to the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco California, requesting a reservation of two single rooms.

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 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 Rev. Ralph Abernathy to MLK

Monday, December 18, 1961

Rev. Ralph Abernathy sends best wishes to Dr. King and everyone affiliated with the Civil Rights Movement. Rev. Abernathy is disheartened because he is not present to assist with the movement, but assures Dr. King that he wants to be an active participant.

Telegram from Walter Friedrich to MLK

Thursday, October 15, 1964

Walter Friedrich, on behalf of the Peace Council of the German Democratic Republic, congratulates Dr. King for receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.

Telegram to MLK from the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women's Club

Wednesday, September 24, 1958

The New York Chapter of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women's Club wishes a speedy recovery to Dr. King while he is hospitalized in Harlem Hospital.

Telegram from MLK to the Honorable Carl Sanders

Dr. King invites the Honorable Carl Sanders to share the pulpit with himself and Mayor Ivan Allen at the Annual Layman's Day celebration at Ebenezer Baptist Church. He also invites him to a dinner to honor Governor Nelson Rockefeller at the home of Rev. Martin Luther King Sr.

Telegram from Nelson Rockefeller to MLK

Thursday, March 18, 1965

New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller writes to Dr. King in appreciation for notice of the Selma to Montgomery March. He describes the leadership of Dr. King and others involved in the Civil Rights Movement as "the finest American tradition."

Telegram from Russell Tuten to MLK

Friday, July 9, 1965

Russell Tuten writes Dr. King expressing his support in extending Voting Rights and complete citizenship to all Georgia residents. Tuten states, "Georgia should be commended for its progress in conforming to the laws of the land."

Telegram from Ambassador Ade Martins to MLK

This telegram was sent to Dr. King and Theodore Brown by N. Ade Martins, the Ambassador of Nigeria. He explains the reaction of Lt. Col. Yakubu Gowon, the commander in chief of the armed forces, to Dr. King's letter concerning the violence in Nigeria.

Invitation to SCLF Celebration from MLK

Tuesday, October 24, 1967

Dr. King sent this telegram to 30 prominent members of the Philedelphia community, inviting them to join the Southern Christian Leadership Foundation in presenting the Star for Freedom to Harry Belafonte, Aretha Franklin, and Signey Poitier.

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 The Mathis Family to MLK

Monday, April 15, 1963

The Mathis family sends their support to Dr. King during his incarceration in the Birmingham City Jail.

Telegram from MLK to Dr. Vernon W. Stone

Dr. King commends Dr. Vernon Stone on his superb teaching career and upcoming move to become the first Negro professor at a University in Atlanta.

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 the SCLC to Rev. John Golden

Tuesday, August 17, 1965

Staff from the SCLC and Citizenship Education Program telegram Reverend John Golden informing him that all expenses will be paid for the trip to Georgia.

Telegram from MLK and Wyatt T. Walker to Samual Weston

Monday, April 30, 1962

Wyatt T. Walker and Dr. King sent this telegram to Samual Weston informing him that they were requesting an investigation of his complaint.

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

Monday, May 13, 1968

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

Telegram from the New York Chapter of Americans for Democratic Action to MLK

Monday, September 22, 1958

The New York Chapter of Americans for Democratic Action wishes Dr. King well in his recovery.

Telegram from Dr. Richard Moore to MLK

Saturday, March 13, 1965

Dr. Richard Moore, on behalf of Bethune Cookman College, expresses support for Dr. King during the SCLC Voting Rights Campaign in Selma, Alabama.

Telegram from Andrew Allen to MLK

Monday, October 30, 1967

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

Telegram from the James A. Bailey Family to MLK

Monday, September 22, 1958

The James A. Bailey family offers its prayers for Dr. King's recovery.

Telegram from University of Michigan Young Republican Club to MLK

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

Telegram from Reverend Fred L Shuttlesworth to MLK

Friday, July 20, 1962

Reverend Ralph D. Abernathy assures Dr. King that the nation extends their congratulations and prayer for his success. Reverend Abernathy asserts that as soldiers of freedom, they must "win this battle" for their country and that there "can be no retreat" in the movement.

Telegram from George W. Baber and John W. P. Collier to MLK

Thursday, September 25, 1958

The African Methodist Episcopal Churches in New Jersey express their pleasure that Dr. King is making a "speedy recovery."

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 Roy Wilkins to MLK

Roy Wilkins writes Dr. King requesting that Southern Christian Leadership affiliates overflow senators with messages promoting support.