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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 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 Thich Nhat Hanh to MLK

VIETNAM, Atlanta, GA, Denver, CO, Colorado (CO)

Thich Nhat Hanh expresses his support for Dr. King and conveys his desire to meet with Dr. King during his upcoming visit to Atlanta.

Telegram from Ebenezer Baptist Church to MLK

Friday, November 3, 1967
Alabama (AL), Birmingham, AL, Georgia (GA), Atlanta, GA

Ebenezer Baptist Church offers support to Dr. King during his incarceration in the Birmingham Jail.

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 Lee C. White to MLK

Wednesday, September 18, 1963
Washington, D.C., Atlanta, GA, Birmingham, AL, Georgia (GA), Alabama (AL)

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 Lawrence F. O'Brien to MLK

Thursday, August 5, 1965
Washington, D.C.

Lawrence O'Brien, Special Assistant to President Johnson, invites Dr. King to the signing of the Voting Rights Act in Washington, D.C.

Telegram from MLK to Sargent Shriver

Friday, May 12, 1967
Washington, D.C., Alabama (AL)

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 Marion Barry and Edward Biking to MLK

Wednesday, October 26, 1960
Atlanta, GA

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 Edwin Berry to MLK

Wednesday, October 14, 1964
Chicago, IL, Illinois (IL)

Edwin Berry congratulates Dr. King on receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.

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 Leslie Dewart to MLK

Monday, July 19, 1965
CANADA

On behalf of The International Teach-in Committee, Professor Dewart invites Dr. King to participate teach-in in Toronto.

Telegram from Roy Wilkins to MLK

Wednesday, October 11, 1967
New York, NY, NIGERIA, Atlanta, GA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Mr. Wilkins invites Dr. King to attend a meeting with Dr. K. O. Mbadiwe, former Nigerian Minister, and other Negro leaders in the United States to discuss the increasing conflict in Nigeria.

Telegram from Reinhold Niebuhr to MLK

Friday, March 19, 1965
New York, NY, Alabama (AL), Montgomery, AL, Selma, AL

Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr regrets that a stroke prevents him from accepting Dr. King's invitation to participate in the Selma-to-Montgomery March and hopes there will be "massive" support.

Telegram from Bennette, Calhoun and Ellis to MLK

Sunday, April 14, 1963
Birmingham, AL, Alabama (AL)

J.H. Calhoun, Ocelia Ellis and Fred Bennette send their prayers and support to Dr. King during Dr. King's imprisonment in the Birmingham City Jail.

Telegram from MLK to the Pennsylvania State Welfare Rights Organization

Monday, March 25, 1968
Philadelphia, PA, Pennsylvania (PA)

Dr. King states his support for demonstrations by the Pennsylvania State Welfare Rights Organization.

Telegram from Henrich Grueber to MLK

Tuesday, December 31, 1963
Berlin, Germany, New York, NY

Henrich Grueber, Dean of Berlin and Gloster B. Current, Director of Branches NAACP extends their gratitude to Dr. King on being named "Man of the Year" by Time Magazine.

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 Senator Percy to MLK

Saturday, June 3, 1967
Washington, D.C., Chicago, IL, New York (NY), New York, NY

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 Muhammed Speaks Newspaper to MLK, Sr.

Tuesday, April 30, 1968
Chicago, IL, Atlanta, GA, Illinois (IL), Georgia (GA)

Muhammed Speaks Newspaper contacts Martin Luther King, Sr. to confirm the presentation of a portrait of Dr. King, which is a gift of Muhammad Ali.

Telegram from Arnold Aronson to MLK

Washington, D.C.

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

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 the Bailey Family to Dr. King

Friday, October 24, 1958
Montgomery, AL, Alabama (AL)

The Bailey family welcomes Dr. King home.

Telegram from W. L. Bentley to MLK

Philadelphia, PA

W. L. Bentley expresses to Dr. King that his ill health prevents him from being present. He also requests to enroll and would like to be forwarded the cost.

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 Dr. F. Earl McLendon to MLK

Tuesday, March 9, 1965
Selma, AL, Alabama (AL)

Dr. McLendon, President of the Atlanta Medical Association, offers aid to Dr. King and the people of Selma, Alabama after incidents of police brutality.

Telegram from MLK to Honorable Daniel Evans

Washington (WA), Atlanta, GA

Dr. King writes to the Honorable Daniel Evans requesting that he intercede in the controversy resulting from Washington State's conservation law and a 111-year old treaty.

Dorothy Cotton telegraphs congratulations

Sunday, January 31, 1965
Atlanta, GA, Georgia (GA), New York (NY), New York, NY

Dorothy Cotton, long-time colleague of Dr. King at Southern Christian Leadership Conference, congratulates Dr. King for being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Cotton was one of the only non-family members to subsequently accompany Dr. King to Oslo, Norway, for the prize ceremony.

Telegram from Dow Kirkpatrick to MLK and Mrs. King

Wednesday, January 27, 1965
Illinois (IL), Atlanta, GA, Georgia (GA)

Dow Kirkpatrick congratulates Dr. King and apologizes for his absence at the event.

Telegram from Mrs. King to Canon L. John Collins

Friday, January 3, 1969
London, England, UNITED KINGDOM

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

Telegram from Stanley Levison to Coretta Scott King

Friday, January 17, 1969
ITALY

Stanley Levison warns Mrs. King about interceding between governments.