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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 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 Coretta Scott King to the Family of Dr. Thomas Merton

Tuesday, December 17, 1968
Louisville, KY

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 MLK to Senator Robert Kennedy

Monday, March 18, 1963
Washington, D.C., Virginia (VA)

Dr. King requests that Senator Robert Kennedy initiate an investigation into complaints about the actions of police during demonstrations in Petersburg, Virginia.

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 Thomas K. Gilmool and David N. Wice to Dora McDonald

Friday, October 13, 1967
Philadelphia, PA, San Francisco, CA, Pennsylvania (PA), California (CA), Atlanta, GA, Georgia (GA)

Mr. Gilmool and Mr. Wice write to confirm the date that Dr. King will be speaking at a dinner honoring Marjorie Penney.

Telegram from MLK and Mrs. King to Dr. Benjamin E. Mays

Atlanta, GA, SWITZERLAND, Georgia (GA), Geneva, Switzerland

Dr. and Mrs. King commend Dr. Benjamin E. Mays for all he has accomplished during his twenty-seven years as President of Morehouse College.

Telegram from Elizabeth J. Miller to MLK

Thursday, November 2, 1967
Birmingham, AL

Elizabeth Miller, the Executive Director of the Christian Social Concern division of the American Baptist Convention, extends support to Dr. King while he is in the Jefferson County Jail in 1967. She expresses gratitude for Dr. King's leadership and commends him for his non-violent action.

Telegram from MLK to Attorney General Robert Kennedy

Monday, July 8, 1963
Washington, D.C., Florida (FL), St. Augustine, FL

Dr. King sends Attorney General Robert Kennedy a copy of the telegram he sent to Vice President Lyndon Johnson. The city of St. Augustine, Florida refuses to desegregate its facilities, which Dr. King describes as a "denial of Negro citizenship."

Telegram from MLK to Clarence T. Lundquist

Thursday, March 15, 1962
Washington, D.C., Georgia (GA)

Dr. King writes Clarence Lundquist of the Wage, Hour and Public Contracts Division of the Department of Labor to request an investigation into complaints of wage discrimination at the Sea Pak Shrimp factories in Elonia and St. Simon's Island, Georgia.

Telegram from L. M. McCoy to MLK

Friday, May 12, 1967
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, BRAZIL, New York (NY), New York, NY, Atlanta, GA

L. M. McCoy telegrams Dr. King expressing the urgency that the Methodist Church of Brazil receive a reply to their invitation for him to speak at their Centennial celebration in Brazil.

Telegram from MLK to Mrs. H. H. Hubbard

Friday, September 15, 1967
Alabama (AL), Montgomery, AL

Dr. King sends his condolences to Mrs. H. H. Hubbard following the death of her husband. Dr. King also mentions the importance of Dr. Hubbard's contributions to the Montgomery bus boycott.

Telegram from MLK to Fred Shuttlesworth

Cincinnati, OH, Ohio (OH)

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

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 Gordon Carey to MLK

Thursday, October 20, 1960
New York, NY, Georgia (GA), New York (NY), Atlanta, GA

Gordon Carey of CORE wishes Dr. King well during his imprisonment in the Fulton County Jail.

Telegram from Frederick Dennard to MLK

New York, NY, New York (NY)

Reverend Frederick Dennard, Executive Director of the Harlem Interfaith Counseling Service, invites Dr. King to speak at a fundraising banquet.

Telegram from MLK to President Kennedy

Mississippi (MS), Greenwood, MS, Washington, D.C.

In order to protect citizens involved in voter registration from attacks and harassment by police, Dr. King requests that President Kennedy intervene the situation in Greenwood, Mississippi.

Telegram From MLK to Dr. L. Frances Griffin and Dr. Milton Reid

Richmond, VA, Virginia (VA)

Dr. King offers this inspirational message to Drs. Griffin and Reid for their outstanding leadership in the advancement of public education.

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 from MLK to Jack Greenberg

New York (NY), New York, NY

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

Telegram from Delmer Brown to MLK

Friday, February 5, 1965
Alabama (AL), Selma, AL, Berkeley, CA

Due to recent student activities at the University of California, Berkeley, Mr. Brown requests Dr. King's involvement in a lecture series devoted to discussing issues concerning civil disobedience.

Telegram from MLK to Derhanov Dinke

New York (NY), New York, NY, Washington, D.C., Georgia (GA), Atlanta, GA

Dr. King informs Ambassador Derhanov Dinke that it is his pleasure to serve as Honorary President for the Gandhi Society for Human Rights. He invites Ambassador Dinke to attend a luncheon at the Sheraton Carlton Hotel in Washington, D. C.

Telegram from President Johnson to Bernard Lee

Sunday, May 29, 1966
Washington, D.C.

Dr. King's special assistant, Bernard Lee, was the recipient of this telegram requesting his presence at a White House conference called by President Johnson. The theme of the conference was "To Fulfill These Rights."

Telegram from A. Philip Randolph to MLK

New York (NY), New York, NY, Atlanta, GA

A. Philip Randolph congratulates Dr. King on the statement he made on "Face the Nation."

Telegram from Operation Breadbasket Leaders to Ivan Allen

Tuesday, November 14, 1967
Atlanta, GA

This telegram originates from leaders of the Atlanta chapter of Operation Breadbasket and urges the Mayor to take action on employment opportunities for African-Americans.

Telegram from MLK to President John F. Kennedy

Friday, March 30, 1962
Washington, D.C.

Dr. King sends an urgent telegram to President Kennedy recommending Judge William Hastie and Judge Thurgood Marshall be given serious consideration for a seat on the Supreme Court.

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 Reverend N. C. Burtenshaw

Wednesday, March 27, 1968
Atlanta, GA, Georgia (GA)

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

Telegram from George Garabedian to MLK

Sunday, July 24, 1966
JORDAN

Mr. Garabedian, a tourist agent in Jerusalem and Jordan, requests that Dr. King allow him to make accommodations for his upcoming trip.

Telegram to MLK from Various Organizational Leaders

Monday, June 19, 1967
Washington, D.C., New York, NY

Several organizational leaders request that Dr. King join them in Washington, D.C. for an event in which Ambassador Galbraith will address a luncheon with a "major statement on Vietnam."

Telegram from N. K. Steele to MLK

Tallahassee, FL, Georgia (GA), Florida (FL)

N. K. Steele, on behalf of Bethel Baptist Church, offers prayers to Dr. King during his stay in the Care County Jail in Americus, Georgia.