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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 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 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 Jack Greenberg

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

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 King Family to Mrs. Lucille Anderson

The King family sends its condolences to Mrs. Anderson.

Telegram from MLK to Robert Sarnoff

Dr. King commends Robert Sarnoff and NBC for sponsoring Harry Belafonte's guest role on the "Tonight Show."

Telegram from the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party Chairman Guyot to MLK

The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party Chairman expresses concern regarding the SCLC's exclusion of "indigenous people of various political orientation in preparing the program" for the annual convention held in Jackson, MS.

Telegram from Bishop James K. Mathews to MLK

Friday, June 14, 1963

Telegram from Bishop James K. Mathews to Dr. King congratulatiing him on his "Letter from a Birmingham Jail."

Telegram from Ted Aretha to MLK

Monday, October 30, 1967

Ted Aretha sends words of encouragement to Dr. King during his time in the Birmingham City Jail.

Telegram from MLK to President Johnson about VISTA Director

Thursday, September 15, 1966

Dr. King writes President Johnson recommending that Dr. Maurice Dawkins become the new director of VISTA.

Telegram from Reinhold Niebuhr to MLK

Friday, March 19, 1965

Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr regrets that a stroke prevents him from accepting Dr. King's invitation to participate in the Selma-to-Montgomery March and hopes there will be "massive" support.

Telegram from MLK to Derhanov Dinke

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 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 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 Dr. and Mrs. King to John H. Calhoun

Dr. and Mrs. King deliver their condolences for the recent passing of Mason, brother of John H. Calhoun. The Kings informs Mr. Calhoun that he is not alone in his hour of mourning and that the community is also suffering this great loss.

Telegram from MLK to the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne

Monday, February 27, 1967

Dr. Kings sends a telegram notifying the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne in England of his acceptance of their honorary degree.

Telegram from MLK to Honorable Daniel Evans

Dr. King writes to the Honorable Daniel Evans requesting that he intercede in the controversy resulting from Washington State's conservation law and a 111-year old treaty.

Telegram from Thomas Penna to MLK

Monday, November 6, 1967

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.

Telegram from MLK to Terry Shaw

Thursday, July 1, 1965

Dr. King telegrams Terry Shaw stating that the staff of SCLC sends their "deepest sympathy" in his time of grief.

Telegram from Rev. Benjamin Bickers to MLK

Sunday, September 25, 1966

Reverend Benjamin Weldon Bickers sends his congratulations to Dr. King on his birthday and expresses his inability to be present during the celebration due to prior engagements.

Telegram from Andrew Young to the Swedish Ecumenical Council

Andrew Young, Executive Assistant to Dr. King, writes the Swedish Ecumenical Council's Nils Sundholm, informing him that Dr. King can accept his invitation to host a worship service in Sweden in December as part of his trip to Europe.

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 MLK to Rabbi Abraham Heschel

Wednesday, April 5, 1967

Dr. King writes Rabbi Heschel indicating that he will happily serve as a sponsor of the nationwide campaign to end bombings in Vietnam.

Telegram from Roy Wilkins to MLK

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

Telegram from Rodney Clurman to MLK

Monday, February 6, 1967

Rodney Clurman, of the World Food and Population Crisis Committee, asks Dr. King if he can access his mailing list or circulate material that Clurman provides in an effort to end the famine in India.

Telegram from Dr. Richard Moore to MLK

Saturday, March 13, 1965

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 MLK to Rev. N. C. Burtenshaw

Wednesday, March 27, 1968

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

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 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 Harry G. Boyte to Rev. John Papandrew

Harry Boyte expresses his happiness that Rev. John Papandrew will be working with the SCLC.