In A Conversation with Crosby Kemper III, Alvin Sykes Examines a Lifetime Devoted to the Pursuit of Truth

All Library locations will be closed on Monday, February 15 in observance of Presidents' Day.

For Immediate Release:
January 10, 2014
Contact: Courtney Lewis
In A Conversation with Crosby Kemper III, Alvin Sykes Examines a Lifetime Devoted to the Pursuit of Truth

Alvin Sykes never attended college. In fact, he never graduated from high school.

Yet as a self-taught human rights worker, this Kansas City native - the Kansas City Public Library's 2013 scholar in residence - has served as an effective go-between, working with the justice system on behalf of injured parties, particularly minorities and the poor.

Library Director Crosby Kemper III holds a public conversation with Alvin Sykes on Thursday, January 30, 2014, at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.

Sykes' life is examined in the monograph Pursuit of Truth written by Monroe Dodd and published by the Kansas City Public Library. Copies will be available starting in late January at all Library locations. 

Sykes has testified before Congress; he has bent the ears of local, state, and national politicians; and he was the driving force behind the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act, which empowers the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate long-ago cases of civil rights violations.

He spearheaded an investigation into the 1970 slaying of Kansas City politician and civil rights leader Leon Jordan and is currently working on legislation that would eliminate the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse in Missouri.

Sykes has done all this with minimal formal education. Instead, he has spent countless hours in public libraries - reading, researching, and using public computers to build his cases. That led to his appointment as the Library's scholar in residence.

Admission to the event is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. Free parking is available in the Library District parking garage at 10th & Baltimore.  RSVP at or call 816.701.3407.

Kansas City Public Library Beta