The Power of Dialogue: How It Led to the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act

Tom Coburn, Alvin Sykes, Crosby Kemper III
Kansas City civil rights activist Alvin Sykes and former U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn discuss their roles in the ground-breaking cold-case bill of 2008. Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican, initially opposed it; but Sykes convinced him to change his mind, opening the door to passage.
Thursday, July 23, 2015
Program: 
6:30 pm
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Kansas City civil rights activist Alvin Sykes first encountered former U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn in 2007, when Coburn was stalling the Sykes-backed Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act.

Sykes sought and got a meeting. The two men talked. And Coburn dropped his opposition, opening the door to the Till Bill’s passage in September 2008. He paid tribute to Sykes as a difference-maker on the Senate floor.

Coburn left office at the end of last year. He and Sykes, who educated himself and still does much of his research in local libraries, recall their history and Sykes’ lifelong work in a public discussion moderated by Library Director Crosby Kemper III. The event is part of the Library’s Scholar-in-Residence Lecture Series.