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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 Joseph Anderson to MLK

Philadelphia, PA, Pennsylvania (PA)

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 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 A Phillip Randolph and Andrew Heiskell

Friday, December 22, 1967
Washington, D.C.

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

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 Rodney Clurman to MLK

Wednesday, March 22, 1967
New York (NY), INDIA, ITALY, UNITED KINGDOM

Rodney Clurman, of the World Food and Population Crisis Committee, outlines Dr. King's itinerary for a global trip that includes meeting with officials from Scotland, the Pope in Rome, and travelling to New Delhi.

Telegram from Eddie S. Carter to MLK

Wednesday, November 1, 1967
Birmingham, AL, Alabama (AL)

Mr. Carter expresses his appreciation to Dr. King and the SCLC. He also informs Dr. King that he has recently made a contribution the organization and shall continuously do so.

Telegram from Rev. Benjamin Bickers to MLK

Sunday, September 25, 1966
New Orleans, LA

Reverend Benjamin Weldon Bickers sends his congratulations to Dr. King on his birthday and expresses his inability to be present during the celebration due to prior engagements.

Telegram from MLK to President Lyndon B. Johnson

Washington, D.C., Mississippi (MS)

Dr. King urges President Lyndon B. Johnson to conduct a full investigation concerning the government's involvement with Medgar Evers' suspected murderer.

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 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 Mathew Ahmann to MLK

Thursday, November 2, 1967
Chicago, IL, Birmingham, AL, Illinois (IL), Alabama (AL)

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 Georgiana Hardy to Dora McDonald

Wednesday, August 7, 1963
California (CA), Los Angeles, CA, Georgia (GA), Atlanta, GA

Georgiana Hardy, president of the Los Angeles City Board of Education, requests a meeting with Dr. King's upon his upcoming visit to California.

Telegram from Reverend Fred L Shuttlesworth to MLK

Friday, July 20, 1962
Cleveland, OH, Albany, GA, Cincinnati, OH, Ohio (OH), Georgia (GA)

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 Dr. Vernon W. Stone

Maryland (MD), Atlanta, GA, Georgia (GA)

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 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 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 Rev. Loe Champion to MLK

Saturday, March 30, 1968
Milwaukee, WI, Atlanta, GA, Montgomery, AL, Selma, AL, Mississippi (MS)

Dr. King was the recipient of this Western Union telegram from Rev. Loe Champion of the Milwaukee Operation Breadbasket, an economic project of the SCLC. Rev. Champion sent this telegram to show support for Dr. King's struggles in the South. The correspondence was sent two days after a march Dr. King led in Memphis, Tennessee in support of striking sanitation workers.

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 MLK to Nicholas Biddle

Friday, March 16, 1962

Dr. King apologizes to Nicholas Biddle for being unable to attend the testimonial for Senator Jacob Javits.

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 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 Mathis Family to MLK

Monday, April 15, 1963
Birmingham, AL

The Mathis family sends their support to Dr. King during his incarceration in the Birmingham City Jail.

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 MLK to Edward M. Kennedy

Washington, D.C.

Dr. King expresses his gratification to Senator Edward M. Kennedy for sponsoring the amendment to abolish the poll tax in state elections.

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.

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 Clark Macgregor to MLK

Tuesday, September 17, 1963
Mississippi (MS)

Clark Macgregor sends a telegram to Dr. King informing him of his vote against the dismissal of the Mississippi Challenge.

Telegram from Bishop Ljungberg Dean Zetterberg to MLK

Thursday, October 15, 1964
Stockholm, Sweden, Oslo, Norway, Atlanta, GA

Bishop Ljungberg Dean Zetterberg writes Dr. King on behalf of the Cathedral in Stockholm congratulating him on receiving the Nobel Peace Prize and invites him to attend a peace service.

Telegram from B. Hicks to Herbert Coulton

Tuesday, August 3, 1965
Virginia (VA)

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

Telegram from MLK to Jesse Hill

Wednesday, December 6, 1967
Missouri (MO)

Dr. King sends condolences to Jesse Hill regarding the loss of his grandmother.