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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 Ambassador Ade Martins to MLK

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 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 NY Chapter of Americans for Democratic Action to MLK

Monday, September 22, 1958

The NY Chapter of Americans for Democratic Action sends Dr. King well wishes and hopes for a speedy recovery.

Telegram from Stanley G. Grizzle to MLK

Monday, September 13, 1965

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

Sunday, March 31, 1968

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

Telegram from Dick Rettig to MLK

Thursday, October 20, 1960

Dick Rettig, President of the United States National Student Association, writes Dr. King to express the organization's solidarity with the sit-in movment.

Telegram from MLK to Mrs. Lovie M. Lowe

Monday, August 23, 1965

Dr. King attempts to mediate between Mrs. Lowe and her pastor, the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth.

Telegram from Rev. Harold Carlson to MLK

Thursday, September 19, 1963

Reverend Harold E. Carlson sends words of encouragement to Dr. King. Carlson prays for continued strength and courage for King's "holy cause."

Telegram from MLK to President Johnson on Rhodesia

Thursday, November 11, 1965

Dr. King urges President Johnson to respond to the unilateral declaration of independence by Prime Minister Ian Smith of Rhodesia by withdrawing American officials, refusing diplomatic recognition and severing economic ties.

Telegram from the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party Chairman Guyot to MLK

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 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 MLK to the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne

Monday, February 27, 1967

Dr. Kings sends a telegram notifying the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne in England of his acceptance of their honorary degree.

Telegram from MLK to President Johnson on State of the Union Address

Wednesday, January 12, 1966

Dr. King praises President Johnson for his State of the Union address. King expresses appreciation for Johnson's continued commitment to the Great Society, his call for legislation to protect those pursuing their constitutional rights and his pledge to work diligently to end the Vietnam War.

Telegram to MLK from A Phillip Randolph and Andrew Heiskell

Friday, December 22, 1967

Randolph and Heiskell request Dr. King's presence at an Urban Coalition Steering Committee Meeting in Washington.

Telegram from Thich Nhat Hanh to MLK

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 Hosea Williams to President Johnson

Tuesday, August 3, 1965

Hosea Williams writes to President Lyndon B. Johnson requesting an investigation of the Andy Whatley murder.

Telegram to MLK from Kjell Eide

Thursday, January 26, 1967

Kjell Eide requests Dr. King's participation in a peace delegation regarding the conflict in Vietnam.

Telegram from MLK to Dr. Vernon W. Stone

Dr. King commends Dr. Vernon Stone on his superb teaching career and upcoming move to become the first Negro professor at a University in Atlanta.

Telegram from MLK to Honorable Daniel Evans

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.

Telegram from MLK to President Johnson about Howard Address

Monday, June 7, 1965

Dr. King writes to President Lyndon B. Johnson expressing appreciation and admiration for his speech at the Howard University Commencement.

Telegram from Dr. John W. Doolittle to MLK

Friday, December 11, 1964

Dr. John W. Doolittle congratulates Dr. King on being the recipient "of an outstanding honor," and urges him to never forget the U.S.A.

Telegram from B. Hicks to Herbert Coulton

Tuesday, August 3, 1965

B. Hicks telegrams Herbert Coulton stating that he will pay for his transportation and expenses during his visit.

Telegram from MLK to Rev. N. C. Burtenshaw

Wednesday, March 27, 1968

Dr. King sends his condolence to Rev. Burtenshaw of the Catholic Archdioceses of Atlanta for the death of Archbishop Hallinan.

Telegram from Coretta Scott King to the Family of Dr. Thomas Merton

Tuesday, December 17, 1968

Mrs. Coretta Scott King writes to the family of Dr. Thomas Merton expressing her condolences regarding his death. She explains that the tribute Dr. Merton paid to her late husband will never be forgotten and urges the family to remember that the spiritual bonds that exist between a family is eternal.

Telegram from Washington CORE to MLK

Wednesday, July 14, 1965

The Washington CORE asks Dr. King to clear up the apparent misunderstanding that Dr. King approves of Coleman for the fifth circuit.

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 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 MLK to Eartha Kitt

Thursday, May 16, 1963

Dr. King thanks singer-actress Eartha Kitt for her generous support and deep concern for the people of Birmingham, Alabama, and elsewhere in the South. He extends his appreciation to those in the Harlem Apollo Theatre who have contributed in response to her example.

Telegram from Ralph Abernathy to John F. Kennedy

Thursday, June 13, 1963

Rev. Ralph Abernathy accepts President John F. Kennedy’s invitation to meet and discuss the civil rights problem.