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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 MLK to Robert Kennedy

Monday, June 4, 1962
Washington, D.C., Jackson, MS

Dr. King issues an urgent request for Robert Kennedy's immediate involvement in the prosecution of four students who were arrested while engaged in a peaceful demonstration in Jackson, Mississippi. Dr. King has also received information of gross violations of the students' constitutional rights.

Telegram from Mrs. Terry Brown to MLK

Monday, March 8, 1965
Montgomery, AL, Michigan (MI)

Mrs. Terry Brown writes Dr. King reflecting on her participation in the Great Freedom March. She also expresses to Dr. King how his words are a source of inspiration.

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 Rev. M Moran Weston Rector to MLK

New York, NY, Washington, D.C.

Rev. Rector writes to Dr. King extending his support for the Poor Peoples Campaign. He also invites Dr. King to speak at their church to rally support for the campaign.

Telegram from Dr. Albert Davis to MLK

Wednesday, August 16, 1967
Atlanta, GA, Georgia (GA)

Dr. Albert Davis and the Atlanta Chapter of the NAACP praise Dr. King for his "continued leadership and revolutionary ideas."

Telegram from Roy Wilkins to MLK

Wednesday, October 11, 1967
New York, NY, NIGERIA, Atlanta, GA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Mr. Wilkins invites Dr. King to attend a meeting with Dr. K. O. Mbadiwe, former Nigerian Minister, and other Negro leaders in the United States to discuss the increasing conflict in Nigeria.

Telegram from MLK to the Fairmont Hotel

Saturday, September 16, 1967
California (CA), San Francisco, CA

Dr. King writes to the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco California, requesting a reservation of two single rooms.

Telegram from Committee of Concerned Mothers to MLK

Monday, February 22, 1965
Atlanta, GA, New York (NY)

The Committee of Concerned Mothers for Mrs. Malcolm X and Family writes to Dr. King requesting the SCLC to help assist Mrs. Malcolm X and her four children in the wake of her husband's assassination.

Telegram from Harry Belafonte to Coretta Scott King

New York, NY

In this telegram, Mr. Belafonte sympathizes with Mrs. King as she is preparing for Dr. King's sentence of four months in prison.

Telegram from Harry Van Arsdale to MLK While in Jaill

Monday, October 24, 1960
New York, NY, Atlanta, GA

Harry Van Asrdale, President of the New York City Central Labor Council, informs Dr. King that the organization has voted to demand the release of Dr. King and others from Fulton County Jail. He states that the arrest violates "basic constitutional rights" and that the Council fully supports the fight to end discrimination and segregation in the United States.

Telegram from MLK to Governor Albertis Harrison

Virginia (VA), Richmond, VA

Dr. King requests an investigation into acts of police brutality committed in Petersburg, Virginia during a demonstration.

Telegram from Henrich Grueber to MLK

Tuesday, December 31, 1963
Berlin, Germany, New York, NY

Henrich Grueber, Dean of Berlin and Gloster B. Current, Director of Branches NAACP extends their gratitude to Dr. King on being named "Man of the Year" by Time Magazine.

Telegram from Ralph Abernathy to John F. Kennedy

Thursday, June 13, 1963
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Washington, D.C.

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

Telegram from MLK to Fred Shuttlesworth

Cincinnati, OH, Ohio (OH)

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

Telegram from Prentiss Childs to Rev. Ralph Abernathy

Los Angeles, CA, Washington, D.C.

Prentiss Childs, producer of the CBS news program "Face the Nation," invites Rev. Abernathy to speak on the conflict in Vietnam.

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

Sunday, March 31, 1968
Atlanta, GA

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

Telegram from MLK to Rev. N. C. Burtenshaw

Wednesday, March 27, 1968
Atlanta, GA

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

Invitation to SCLF Celebration from MLK

Tuesday, October 24, 1967
Atlanta, GA, Philadelphia, PA

Dr. King sent this telegram to 30 prominent members of the Philedelphia community, inviting them to join the Southern Christian Leadership Foundation in presenting the Star for Freedom to Harry Belafonte, Aretha Franklin, and Signey Poitier.

Telegram from A Philip Randolph to MLK

Tuesday, October 31, 1967
Alabama (AL)

Mr. A. Philip Randolph offers his brotherhood and support to Dr. King, who is imprisoned in the Jefferson County jail.

Telegram from Roy Wilkins to MLK

Thursday, January 5, 1967
Washington, D.C.

Roy Wilkins, the chairman of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, urges Dr. King to attend a special meeting in Washington, D.C. to plan a course of action on pending civil rights legislation.

Telegram from King Children to Master Billy Watchel

Thursday, January 2, 1969
New York (NY)

The King children thank Billy Wachtel for the Christmas gifts he sent to them.

Telegram from Charles Cogen to MLK

Wednesday, November 1, 1967
Washington, D.C., Alabama (AL)

Charles Cogen, President of the American Federation of Teachers, writes Dr. King a note expressing that there is national shame because Dr. King is in jail for defending constitutional rights. He also informs Dr. King that they are making their outrage known publicly.

Telegram from Dr. Richard Moore to MLK

Saturday, March 13, 1965
Florida (FL), Selma, AL, Alabama (AL)

Dr. Richard Moore, on behalf of Bethune Cookman College, expresses support for Dr. King during the SCLC Voting Rights Campaign in Selma, Alabama.

Telegram from Rev. T. A. Borders to Mrs. King

Monday, May 13, 1968
Los Angeles, CA, Atlanta, GA

Rev. Borders conveys his prayers to Mrs. King, on behalf of the First Community Baptist Church.

Telegram from Governor Carl Sanders to MLK

Friday, October 15, 1965
New York (NY), Georgia (GA)

In this telegram, Governor Sanders informs Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that he will not be able to attend Ebenezer Baptist Church's Annual Layman's Day.

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 the Students Union of Aarus University to MLK

Friday, October 16, 1964
DENMARK

The Students Union of Aarus University congratulates Dr. King for receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.

Telegram from MLK to Jack Greenberg

New York (NY), New York, NY

Dr. King informs Jack Greenberg that he agrees with a plan to dissolve the Leadership Conference.

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.