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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 Jacob K. Javits to MLK

Washington, D.C.

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 Rev. M Moran Weston Rector to MLK

New York, NY, Washington, D.C.

Rev. Rector writes to Dr. King extending his support for the Poor Peoples Campaign. He also invites Dr. King to speak at their church to rally support for the campaign.

Telegram from Richard C. Gilman to Dora McDonald

Saturday, November 12, 1966
Los Angeles, CA

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

Telegram from King Children to Master Billy Watchel

Thursday, January 2, 1969
New York (NY)

The King children thank Billy Wachtel for the Christmas gifts he sent to them.

Telegram from President Kennedy to MLK

Monday, September 24, 1962
Washington, D.C., UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

President Kennedy compliments Dr. King and his organization for their persistent push for equal rights in America.

Letter from MLK to Attorney General Robert Kennedy

Tuesday, March 31, 1964
North Carolina (NC), Washington, D.C., Boston, MA

Dr. King writes to Attorney General Robert Kennedy requesting an investigation in Williamston, NC to relieve the Negro community from violence and "unconstitutional police action."

Telegram from F. D. Jones to MLK

Thursday, November 19, 1964
Pennsylvania (PA)

Reverend F. D. Jones congratulates Dr. King for being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Telegram from Stanley G. Grizzle to MLK

Monday, September 13, 1965
CANADA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Atlanta, GA

Stanley G. Grizzle, Chairman of the Toronto chapter of the Martin Luther King Fund, urges Dr. King to accept the International Teach-In invitation.

Telegram from CEP & SCLC to Essie Bizzell

Tuesday, August 17, 1965
Selma, AL, Georgia (GA)

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 Donna Jean Stancliff to MLK

Thursday, December 28, 1967
Washington, D.C., Norfolk, VA, Atlanta, GA

Donna Jean Stancliff informs Dr. King of Mrs. Zelma G. Proctor's funeral.

Telegram from MLK to Mrs. Evelyn White

Wednesday, November 22, 1967
Philadelphia, PA

Dr. King informs Mrs. White that he received the materials sent to him. He also notes that he is unable to make a decision regarding his schedule and availability.

Telegram from MLK to Senator Robert Kennedy

Washington, D.C.

Dr. King praises Senator Kennedy's efforts toward abolishing the poll tax in state elections.

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

Thursday, January 9, 1969
Chicago, IL, Atlanta, GA

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 Oeberg Ruden Abrahamsson to MLK

Thursday, October 15, 1964
Atlanta, GA, Stockholm, Sweden, Georgia (GA), SWEDEN, London, England, UNITED KINGDOM

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

Telegram from Harry Van Arsdale, Jr. to MLK

New York (NY), New York, NY

Harry Van Arsdale, President of the New York City Central Labor Council AFL-CIO, informs Dr. King, who is in the Fulton County Jail, that ten thousand unionists in New York voted to support Dr. King's fight for "decency and democracy." The organization contributes $1000 to aid Dr. King in his efforts.

Telegram to MLK from Various Organizational Leaders

Monday, June 19, 1967
Washington, D.C., New York, NY

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 Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party Chairman Guyot to MLK

Mississippi (MS), Jackson, MS

The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party Chairman expresses concern regarding the SCLC's exclusion of "indigenous people of various political orientation in preparing the program" for the annual convention held in Jackson, MS.

Telegram from C. C. Shell to MLK

Georgia (GA)

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

Telegram from Marvin Rich to MLK

Tuesday, July 26, 1966
South Carolina (SC), New York, NY, New York (NY)

Marvin Rich informs Dr. King of a resolution that was adopted at a recent conference. The resolution called for a summit of civil rights leaders.

Telegram from Dr. and Mrs. King to Uvee Arbouin

Cincinnati, OH, Ohio (OH)

Dr. and Mrs. King write Uvee Arbouin to commend her Christian leadership and devotion to Jesus Christ.

Telegram from Thich Nhat Hanh to MLK

Saturday, February 24, 1968
Missouri (MO), VIETNAM

Thich Nhat Hanh informs Dr. King that he will be in Atlanta from February 24th to February 29th.

Telegram from Nobel Committee to MLK

Wednesday, October 14, 1964
Atlanta, GA, Georgia (GA)

The Nobel Committee of Norwegian Parliament notifies Dr. King that he will be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 1964.

Telegram from Elizabeth Polste to MLK

Wednesday, December 28, 1966
Pennsylvania (PA), Philadelphia, PA

Mrs. Polste writes to Dr. King requesting a tribute for Emily Greene, who is also a Noble Peace Laureate and a founder of the Womens International League for Peace and Freedom.

Telegram from MLK to Rabbi Abraham Heschel

Wednesday, April 5, 1967
New York (NY), New York, NY, VIETNAM

Dr. King writes Rabbi Heschel indicating that he will happily serve as a sponsor of the nationwide campaign to end bombings in Vietnam.

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

Cincinnati, OH, Ohio (OH)

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

Telegram from MLK to President John F. Kennedy

Friday, March 30, 1962
Washington, D.C.

Dr. King sends an urgent telegram to President Kennedy recommending Judge William Hastie and Judge Thurgood Marshall be given serious consideration for a seat on the Supreme Court.

Telegram from Stanley Levison to Coretta Scott King

Friday, January 17, 1969
ITALY

Stanley Levison warns Mrs. King about interceding between governments.

Telegram from Rev. Ralph Abernathy to President Johnson

Wednesday, December 22, 1965
Washington, D.C., Texas (TX), New York (NY)

Rev. Abernathy urges President Johnson to meet with a group of poverty-stricken people from Syracuse, New York at Johnson's Texas White House.