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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 Winfield P. Woolf, Jr. to the SCLC Board of Strategy

Sunday, March 31, 1968
Atlanta, GA

Just three days before the assassination, Winfield P. Woolf, Jr. asserts that removing Dr. King from the SCLC would be disastrous.

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

Tuesday, October 24, 1967
Atlanta, GA, Washington, D.C.

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 Ted Aretha to MLK

Monday, October 30, 1967
Birmingham, AL, New York (NY), Alabama (AL), New York, NY

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

Telegram from the Bailey Family to Dr. King

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

The Bailey family welcomes Dr. King home.

Telegram to W. L. James from Dr. and Ms. King

Monday, January 2, 1967
Atlanta, GA

Dr. and Mrs. King write Mrs. James expressing condolences following the death of her husband. Dr. James was a music educator at Spelman College and a 1923 graduate of Morehouse College . He served as Chairman of the Music Department at Spelman and Director of the Glee Club from 1933 to 1966. Dr. James died December 27, 1966.

Telegram from Al C. Hastings to MLK

Tuesday, October 31, 1967
Alabama (AL), Florida (FL)

Al Hastings expresses his concern during Dr. King's incarceration in the Jefferson County Jail.

Telegram from Dr. Richard Moore to MLK

Saturday, March 13, 1965
Florida (FL), Selma, AL, Alabama (AL)

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 Ambassador Ade Martins to MLK

NIGERIA

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.

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 Andrew Allen to MLK

Monday, October 30, 1967
Alabama (AL), Washington, D.C., Birmingham, AL

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

Telegram from Mrs. Adams and Son to MLK

Sunday, September 21, 1958
New York (NY), New York, NY

Mrs. Adams and her son wish Dr. King a "speedy recovery."

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 Mathew Ahmann to MLK

Thursday, August 17, 1967
Chicago, IL, Illinois (IL)

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

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 Beryl Sacks to Dora McDonald

Thursday, December 14, 1967
Chicago, IL, Atlanta, GA, Wisconsin (WI)

Ms. Beryl Sacks inquires about the availability of Dr. King to speak for the Speakers Bureau Adult Education Council.

Telegram from Civil Rights Leaders to President Kennedy

Monday, September 16, 1963
Washington, D.C., Atlanta, GA, Birmingham, AL, Georgia (GA), Alabama (AL)

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 MLK to Senator Aiken Regarding Housing

Washington, D.C.

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 Dr. Benjamin Spock to MLK

Wednesday, September 8, 1965
Washington, D.C., New York, NY

Mr. Spock invites Dr. King to send a representative to a discussion on the upcoming Washington Vietnam Mobilization.

Telegram from MLK to Joan Baez

Friday, December 29, 1967
California (CA), VIETNAM

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 Thomas Penna to MLK

Monday, November 6, 1967
New York (NY), Georgia (GA), Atlanta, GA, Washington, D.C., VIETNAM, California (CA), Los Angeles, CA

Thomas A. Penna, the president of the Interracial Council of Buffalo, lists his concerns related to a poverty bill that will be debated the next day. Penna points out that the bill will harm impoverished Negroes, who are already being denied their right to vote. Penna urges Dr. King to address these issues during his upcoming speech in Buffalo, New York.

Telegram from A. G. Downing to MLK

Monday, October 19, 1964
Los Angeles, CA, California (CA)

A. G. Downing, executive secretary of the Southern California Baptist Convention, congratulates Dr. King on receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.

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 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 Bishop James K. Mathews to MLK

Friday, June 14, 1963
Boston, MA, Birmingham, AL

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

Telegram from MLK to Fred Shuttlesworth

Cincinnati, OH, Ohio (OH)

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

Telegram from Roy Wilkins to MLK

Thursday, January 5, 1967
Washington, D.C.

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.

Telegrams from MLK to the Kennedys

Alabama (AL), Birmingham, AL, Washington, D.C.

Dr. King informs President John F. Kennedy and Attorney General Robert Kennedy of the bombings and police behavior in Birmingham, Alabama. Dr. King suggests that if desegregation does not occur the city will experience a "racial holocaust."

Telegram from George Houser to MLK

Thursday, November 11, 1965
New York, NY

George Houser of the American Committee on Africa urges Dr. King to telegram the President about Rhodesia's unilateral declaration of independence. The Rhodesian government, under Prime Minister Ian Smith, took this illegal action to break from the United Kingdom after days of negotiation with British Prime Minister Harold Wilson. The British sought to give blacks a fair share of power.

Telegram from A. Philip Randolph to MLK

Friday, October 14, 1966
Chicago, IL

A. Philip Randolph expresses his discontent with the release of a manifesto from civil rights leaders without Dr. King's signature.