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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.
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.
Governor Nelson Rockefeller extends best wishes to Dr. King on his birthday and congratulates him for being honored as the Man-of-the Year.
Teachers and students from Tuskegee write members of the SCLC to express their support for the upcoming mobilization and Dr. King's stance on the Vietnam War.
In this telegram, Mr. Belafonte sympathizes with Mrs. King as she is preparing for Dr. King's sentence of four months in prison.
Mrs. Bavely sends a supportive telegram to Dr. King during his confinement at the Fulton County Jail. She assures him "children of tomorrow, tomorrow, and tomorrow, will inherit those values for which you are striving."
John Dempsey, Governor of Connecticut, telegrams President John F. Kennedy urging "the full force of the federal government be used to assure the personal safety of Dr. King and his associates who are asserting their rights as citizens."
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.
Robert L. Lucas, the Chairman of the Chicago branch for the Congress On Racial Equality, invites Dr. King and his staff to return to Chicago, Illinois to assist in the struggle for quality integrated education.
The King children thank Billy Wachtel for the Christmas gifts he sent to them.
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."
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.
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."