Local civil rights activist Alvin Sykes discusses his incredible journey from high school dropout to law-making crusader against one of the 20th century’s most heinous crimes, the murder of Emmett Till, on Thursday, July 16, at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.
In the fall of 2008, President George W. Bush signed H.R. 923, activating the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act into law. The Till Bill funds investigations of unsolved homicides predating 1970, authorizing up to $135 million over 10 years for investigations. The bill, named for the black Chicago teenager tragically beaten and killed in August 1955 in Mississippi for allegedly whistling at a white woman and whose killers were acquitted, was the idea of Sykes, a ninth grade dropout.
As chairman of the Emmett Till Justice Campaign, Sykes persuaded then United States Senator Jim Talent to introduce the bill that would set up a permanent cold case unit in the Justice Department to probe old crimes. After years of making contacts and selling politicians on the importance of righting the wrong that ultimately bridged a gap in the racial divide of the country, the Till Bill came to fruition.
Admission is free. Click here  or call 816.701.3407 to RSVP. Free parking is available in the Library District Parking Garage located at 10th and Baltimore.