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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 Margaret Saunders to MLK

Friday, October 21, 1960

Margaret Saunders sends a telegram to encourage Dr. King while he is in jail.

Telegram from Nelson Rockefeller to Wyatt Walker

Monday, June 22, 1964

This telegram is part of a correspondence chain with famous New York Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller. Rockefeller informs Wyatt Tee Walker that a schedule conflict prohibits his attendance at the Dedication of New Churches in Albany.

Telegram from Curtis W. Harris to Dora McDonald

Monday, April 5, 1965

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 Marion Barry and Edward Biking to MLK

Wednesday, October 26, 1960

The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee extends gratitude to Dr. King for his deep commitment to the concept of nonviolence and a free society while he is incarcerated in the Dekalb County Jail.

Telegram from Governor Carl Sanders to MLK

Friday, October 15, 1965

In this telegram, Governor Sanders informs Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that he will not be able to attend Ebenezer Baptist Church's Annual Layman's Day.

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 MLK to Nicholas Biddle

Friday, March 16, 1962

Dr. King apologizes to Nicholas Biddle for being unable to attend the testimonial for Senator Jacob Javits.

Telegram from Joseph Lowery to Wyatt Walker

Friday, November 3, 1967

Reverend Joseph E. Lowery writes to Reverend Wyatt Walker acknowledging his support of Walker's "sacrifice in behalf of freedom and justice for all."

Telegram from MLK to Clarence T. Lundquist

Thursday, March 15, 1962

Dr. King writes Clarence Lundquist of the Wage, Hour and Public Contracts Division of the Department of Labor to request an investigation into complaints of wage discrimination at the Sea Pak Shrimp factories in Elonia and St. Simon's Island, Georgia.

Telegram from Prentiss Childs to Rev. Ralph Abernathy

Prentiss Childs, producer of the CBS news program "Face the Nation," invites Rev. Abernathy to speak on the conflict in Vietnam.

Telegram from Roy Wilkins to MLK

Thursday, January 5, 1967

Roy Wilkins, the chairman of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, urges Dr. King to attend a special meeting in Washington, D.C. to plan a course of action on pending civil rights legislation.

Telegram from MLK to Sargent Shriver

Friday, May 12, 1967

Dr. King commends Mr. Shriver and the Office of Economic Opportunity for funding the Southwest Alabama Farmers Cooperative Association. Dr. King asserts that this decision is a positive step in the War on Poverty that will directly affect countless numbers of impoverished people.

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 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 Philip A. Randolph to MLK

Monday, August 8, 1966

Philip A. Randolph writes Dr. King concerning Negro leaders being invited to discuss problems of the movement on NBC television.

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 Rev. Jesse Jackson

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

Telegram from MLK to Edward M. Kennedy

Dr. King expresses his gratification to Senator Edward M. Kennedy for sponsoring the amendment to abolish the poll tax in state elections.

Telegram from Icabod Flewellen to MLK

Wednesday, April 26, 1967

Icabod Flewellen welcomes Dr. King to Cleveland, Ohio.

Telegram from MLK to Fred Shuttlesworth

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

Telegram from Francis Lucas to Lucille Banta

Friday, January 17, 1969

Francis Lucas, assistant to Coretta Scott King, informs Lucille Banta of a scheduling conflict. She also requests information about which people "have agreed to sign the cable gram to His Holiness Pope Paul."

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 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 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 MLK to Muhammad Ali

Dr. King sends a supportive telegram to Muhammad Ali. test

Telegram from Senator Percy to MLK

Saturday, June 3, 1967

Senator Charles H. Percy invites Dr. King to a private dinner to discuss innovative approaches for private sector involvement in the "urban problem."

Telegram from Bishop James K. Mathews to MLK

Friday, June 14, 1963

Telegram from Bishop James K. Mathews to Dr. King congratulatiing him on his "Letter from a Birmingham Jail."

Telegram from L. V. Booth and Otis Moss to MLK

Dr. L. V. Booth and Reverend Otis Moss thank Dr. King and the SCLC for their efforts during the last ten years.

Telegram from Tuskegee Students and Teachers to the SCLC

Wednesday, April 12, 1967

Teachers and students from Tuskegee write members of the SCLC to express their support for the upcoming mobilization and Dr. King's stance on the Vietnam War.

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.