Alvin Sykes never attended college. 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 Conversation with Alvin Sykes on Thursday, January 30, 2014, at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.
The event also serves as the public debut of the monograph Pursuit of Truth, about Sykes' life and work. It was written by Monroe Dodd and published by the Kansas City Public Library.
Sykes has testified before Congress. He has bent the ears of local, state, and national politicians. 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. Currently he is working on legislation that would eliminate the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse in Missouri.
Sykes has done all this with a minimum of 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 kclibrary.org or call 816.701.3407.