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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 Thomas Kilgore to MLK

Thomas Kilgore, on behalf of Friendship Baptist Church, offers support to Dr. King concerning the downfall of discrimination and segregation.

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 Bishop Ljungberg Dean Zetterberg to MLK

Thursday, October 15, 1964

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 to MLK from H. Rap Brown

Tuesday, June 13, 1967

Police brutality in the black communities of Prattville, Alabama prompts this request sent to Dr. King, which seeks immediate federal investigation and protection of black prisoners.

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 N. K. Steele to MLK

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.

Telegram from Dr. Benjamin Spock to MLK

Wednesday, September 8, 1965

Mr. Spock invites Dr. King to send a representative to a discussion on the upcoming Washington Vietnam Mobilization.

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 W. L. Bentley to MLK

W. L. Bentley expresses to Dr. King that his ill health prevents him from being present. He also requests to enroll and would like to be forwarded the cost.

Telegram to MLK from the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women's Club

Wednesday, September 24, 1958

The New York Chapter of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women's Club wishes a speedy recovery to Dr. King while he is hospitalized in Harlem Hospital.

Telegram from David Livingston to MLK

Thursday, October 20, 1960

David Livingston and Cleveland Robinson, on behalf of their district of the AFL-CIO, send encouragement to Dr. King.

Telegram from King Children to Master Billy Watchel

Thursday, January 2, 1969

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

Telegram from George Garabedian to MLK

Sunday, July 24, 1966

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

Telegram from Malcolm X to MLK

Tuesday, June 30, 1964

Malcolm X offers Dr. King assistance with the situation in St. Augustine, including the organization of self-defense units.

Telegram from MLK to Mrs. H. H. Hubbard

Friday, September 15, 1967

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 Lee C. White to MLK

Wednesday, September 18, 1963

Lee C. White, Assistant Special Counsel to the President, confirms a meeting with President Kennedy and Dr. King to discuss the Birmingham bombing incident.

Telegram from Josephine Jones to MLK

Ms. Jones, President of the Metropolitan Community Leaders, writes to Dr. King about Albert Shanker's stance on African American education.

Telegram from Margaret Saunders to MLK

Friday, October 21, 1960

Margaret Saunders sends a telegram to encourage Dr. King while he is in jail.

Telegram from Senator Percy to MLK

Saturday, June 3, 1967

Senator Charles H. Percy invites Dr. King to a private dinner to discuss innovative approaches for private sector involvement in the "urban problem."

Telegram from MLK to Elijah Muhammed

Monday, August 14, 1967

Dr. King commends Muhammad Ali's conscientious objection to the Vietnam War. He encourages Elijah Muhammed to convince Ali to speak at the upcoming Tenth Annual Convention of SCLC.

Telegram from Roy Wilkins to MLK

Roy Wilkins writes Dr. King requesting that Southern Christian Leadership affiliates overflow senators with messages promoting support.

Telegram to MLK from Various Organizational Leaders

Monday, June 19, 1967

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 University of Michigan Young Republican Club to MLK

The University of Michigan Young Republican Club informs Dr. King that they "deplore" the recent events in Selma, Alabama.

Telegram from MLK to President Johnson on Home Rule

Dr. King urges President Johnson to support the administration bill on Home Rule for Washington, D.C. rather than pursue a compromise.

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 Mr. and Mrs. King to Mrs. A. B. Cooper & Family

Dr. and Mrs. King express their regret for being unable to attend the funeral; however, they offer condolences to Mrs. A. B. Cooper and family for the loss of their loved one.

Telegram from Johnnie McKinney to MLK

Monday, April 5, 1965

Johnnie McKinney telegrams Dr. King to invite him to a fundraising event that is set to occur in Wyoming. McKinney states, "Wyoming needs you to make Reverend Reebs home state a real fortress of equality."

Telegram from Oslo, Norway to Dora McDonald

Thursday, November 5, 1964

Dr. King receives this telegram as an advance welcome to Oslo, Norway and to confirm lodging reservations for him and his associates.

Telegram from Richard Beyer to MLK

Monday, May 17, 1965

Richard Beyer telegrams Dr. King inquiring if he is available to speak at a peace rally in Washington sponsored by Canadian and Northwest Peace groups.

Telegram from MLK to L. Venchael Booth

Dr. King congratulates Dr. Booth on receiving the Doctor of Divinity degree from Morehouse College.