As a self-taught human rights worker who relies on local libraries for his primary research, the Kansas City Public Library's 2013 scholar in residence Alvin Sykes works with the justice system on behalf of minorities and the poor.
In a public conversation with Library Director Crosby Kemper III, Sykes talks about testifying before Congress, bending the ears of politicians, and his role in creating the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act, which gives the U.S. Department of Justice the means to investigate long-ago cases of civil rights violations.
Yet much of his work has been low profile: a case of workplace discrimination here, food stamps denied or an unfair eviction there. Frequently, his work is not only unpublicized but also uncompensated.
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 January at all Library locations.