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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 Harry Belafonte to Coretta Scott King

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 Ted Aretha to MLK

Monday, October 30, 1967

Ted Aretha sends words of encouragement to Dr. King during his time in the Birmingham City Jail.

Telegram from Rev. Phillip J. Bailey to MLK

Monday, September 22, 1958

Rev. Bailey, on behalf of the Interdenominational Ministers Meeting of Greater New York, wishes Dr. King well in his recovery.

Telegram from Sargent Shriver to Coretta King

Tuesday, November 14, 1967

Sargent Shriver, American statesmen, activist, founder of Job Corps and Peace Crops, expresses gratitude for Mrs. King's public endorsement of the war against poverty.

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 J.C. Willimas and George Moore to the National Education Association of America

Tuesday, October 24, 1967

Mr. Williams writes to the National Education Association of America requesting an immediate investigation take place on behalf of the Atlanta School System. He suggests that discriminatory practices are present.

Telegram from A Philip Randolph to MLK

Tuesday, October 31, 1967

Mr. A. Philip Randolph offers his brotherhood and support to Dr. King, who is imprisoned in the Jefferson County jail.

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 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 MLK to Senator Aiken Regarding Housing

Dr. King urges Senator George Aiken and other members of the Republican Party to support an open housing bill to promote better living conditions in Negro communities.

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 MLK to Reverend N. C. Burtenshaw

Wednesday, March 27, 1968

Dr. King sends his condolences for the death of Archbishop Paul Hallinan.

Telegram from Joseph Anderson to MLK

Joseph Anderson urges Dr. King to "call forth a day of prayer" to ease the uproar, most notably overshadowing such U.S. cities as Detroit and Newark during the long, hot summer of 1967.

Telegram from A. Phillip Randolph to MLK

Tuesday, November 1, 1960

A. Phillip Randolph, on behalf of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and the Negro American Labor Council, expresses joy at Dr. King's release from prison.

Telegram from Mrs. Willie Bass to MLK

Thursday, September 23, 1954

Mrs. Willie M. Bass sent this telegram expressing her hope for Dr. King's speedy recovery during his stay at 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 Curtis Harris to Coretta Scott King

Thursday, October 15, 1964

Mr. Harris, President of Virginia's SCLC chapter, congratulates Mrs. King on Dr. King's winning the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize.

Telegram from MLK to Andrew Heiskell and A. Philip Randolph

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 Mathew Ahmann to MLK

Thursday, August 17, 1967

Mathew Ahmann, on behalf of the National Catholic Conference for Interracial Justice, congratulates the Southern Christian Leadership Conference for a decade of leadership.

Telegram from UFT President Albert Shanker to MLK

Wednesday, September 13, 1967

Albert Shanker expresses his appreciation to Dr. King for his support throughout the tumultuous 1967 education crisis in New York City.

Telegram from Nobel Committee to MLK

Wednesday, October 14, 1964

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

Telegram from Leslie Dewart to MLK

Monday, July 19, 1965

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

Telegram from Mathew Ahmann to MLK

Thursday, November 2, 1967

The Director of the National Catholic Conference on Interracial Justice offers the support of his organization during Dr. King's imprisonment in Birmingham Jail.

Telegram from Dr. and Mrs. King to Sadye Brooks

Friday, April 28, 1967

Dr. and Mrs. King offer their condolences to the Brooks family on the recent loss of their beloved husband and father.

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 MLK to Joan Baez

Friday, December 29, 1967

Dr. King sends encouraging words to Joan Baez, an American singer and civil rights activist, who is imprisoned at Santa Rita Rehabilitation Center.

Telegram from Duncan Wood to MLK

Monday, September 25, 1967

Telegram from Duncan Wood on behalf of the Oslo Committee, hoping to arrange interviews in Moscow with Dr. King and Father Pire.

Telegram from Rodney Clurman to MLK

Monday, February 6, 1967

Rodney Clurman, of the World Food and Population Crisis Committee, asks Dr. King if he can access his mailing list or circulate material that Clurman provides in an effort to end the famine in India.

Telegram from MLK to Jack Greenberg

Dr. King agrees that the United Civil Rights Leadership Council should be dissolved.

Telegram to MLK Regarding Honor Group MLK

Thursday, May 25, 1967

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.