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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 Selma Frazier to MLK

Wednesday, November 1, 1967

Selma Frazier and family send their support to Dr. King during his incarceration in the Birmingham jail.

Telegram from Dr. and Mrs. Jones to MLK

Wednesday, January 27, 1965

Dr. and Mrs. Jones congratulate Dr. King on winning the Nobel Peace Prize. They send their regrets for not being able to attend the dinner to honor Dr. King's accomplishment.

Telegram from MLK to Rev. Jesse Jackson

Dr. King writes to Rev. Jesse Jackson, urgently requesting his presence at a meeting of the Action Committee for Washington.

Telegram from Delmer Brown to MLK

Friday, February 5, 1965

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 Mrs. Dorothy Johnson to MLK

Thursday, November 2, 1967

Mrs. Dorothy Johnson writes Dr. King to express her support of his endeavors while he is in jail in Birmingham, Alabama.

Telegram from Frederick Dennard to MLK

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

Telegram from Marion Barry and Edward Biking to MLK

Wednesday, October 26, 1960

The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee extends gratitude to Dr. King for his deep commitment to the concept of nonviolence and a free society while he is incarcerated in the Dekalb County Jail.

Telegram from MLK to William Miller

Friday, February 16, 1968

Dr. King writes Mr. William O. Miller, of the Concerned Teachers and Parents of Philadelphia, commending them for their efforts advocating for African-American education in their community.

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.

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 Sargent Shriver to MLK

During the year of 1967, Sargent Shriver served as Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity and created several community oriented programs. Shriver sends this telegram to Dr. King informing his support. Shriver appreciates King's ability to be forthright on the condemnation of lawless behavior and causes of social unrest. He agrees that "America must quickly develop and support adequate programs to remove these causes."

Telegram from MLK to John F. Kennedy

Tuesday, June 11, 1963

Dr. King writes to President John F. Kennedy about the President's speech to the nation. Dr. King writes that he found the speech to be most eloquent and unequivocal.

Telegram from Marshall L. Shepard to MLK

Wednesday, November 1, 1967

Rev. Shepard, pastor of Mount Oliver Tabernacle Baptist Church, offers words of encouragement to Dr. King, who is imprisoned in Bessemer, Alabama.

Telegram from Richard C. Gilman to Dora McDonald

Saturday, November 12, 1966

Richard C. Gilman sends this telegram to Dora McDonald confirming Dr. King's speaking engagement at Occidental College.

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 Roy Wilkins to MLK

Friday, October 21, 1960

Roy Wilkins sends a message of warm wishes on behalf of the NAACP to Dr. King while he is serving a sentence at the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta.

Telegram from MLK to Senator Robert Kennedy

Dr. King praises Senator Kennedy's efforts toward abolishing the poll tax in state elections.

Telegram from Oeberg Ruden Abrahamsson to MLK

Thursday, October 15, 1964

The Baptist Union of Sweden congratulates Dr. King on winning the Nobel Peace Prize. The group also invites Dr. King to Sweden.

Telegram from Theodore Brown to MLK

Tuesday, January 23, 1968

Mr. Brown confirms the departure date for the Nigeria Peace Mission with Dr. King.

Telegram from Dr. and Mrs. King to the Harris Family

Dr. and Mrs. King send condolences to Katie Harris upon the passing of Alphonso. The Kings remembered Alphonso as "a great and dedicated worker in the struggle for freedom and human dignity."

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 Icabod Flewellen to MLK

Wednesday, April 26, 1967

Icabod Flewellen welcomes Dr. King to Cleveland, Ohio.

Telegram from MLK to President Eisenhower

Thursday, August 13, 1959

This is the text of a telegram Dr. King sent to President Eisenhower regarding the contemporaneous events of the opening of desegregated schools and the arrival of Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev.

Telegram from Mrs. King to Canon L. John Collins

Friday, January 3, 1969

Mrs. King confirms with Canon L. John Collins the dates of her visit to England.

Telegram from Dr. K.O. Mbadiwe to MLK

Friday, November 3, 1967

Dr. Nbadiwe requests a meeting with Dr. King regarding a new proposal for the Nigeria-Biafra situation. After two coups earlier that year in Nigeria, Biafra seceded and civil war erupted.

Telegram from C.K. Steele to MLK

Saturday, October 22, 1960

Rev. Steele expresses his appreciation for Dr. King's career and assures Dr. King that he is not walking alone.

Letter from L. K. Jackson to President Kennedy

Dr. Jackson produces a copy of this telegram sent to President John F. Kennedy, in which he requests the president use his executive power to suppress violent racial tensions in the South. This telegram was prompted by the bombing of a church in Birmingham, Alabama that killed four little girls.

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 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 Russell Tuten to MLK

Friday, July 9, 1965

Russell Tuten writes Dr. King expressing his support in extending Voting Rights and complete citizenship to all Georgia residents. Tuten states, "Georgia should be commended for its progress in conforming to the laws of the land."