For Immediate Release
April 02, 2024
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(BPRW) Show Me Justice: A New Autobiography of Civil Rights Advocate and Pioneer Alvin Lee Sykes

(Black PR Wire) “Alvin Sykes is a different kind of guy. He never gives up. He never accepts the ways things have been. He changes the course of history.” —Herbie Hancock, jazz musician, bandleader, and composer

Show Me Justice tracks the life and career of the late civil-rights advocate and pioneer Alvin Lee Sykes, who used his self-taught legal knowledge to reopen the dormant murder case of Emmett Till in the early 2000s. Educating himself from the shelves at the Kansas City Public Library, he later took his cases to the US Department of Justice and to the US Congress. Sykes used his tenacity and legal research skills to investigate and solve other previously unsolved murder cases of African Americans from the civil-rights era. In the 1980s, Sykes’s relentless efforts also brought about the federal civil-rights conviction of a white man whom a Missouri jury had acquitted in the beating death of a Black musician at a public park.

Typically, the people Sykes represented were as poor as he was— “poor as a church mouse,” to quote former US senator Tom Coburn, who worked with Sykes on the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act. 

In this book’s foreword, Ronnique Hawkins, co-producer of The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till and founder of The ALM and Learn My History foundations, writes: “From jazz singer Steve Harvey to the monumental case of fourteen-year-old Emmett Till, Alvin championed for victims like they were family.”

Sykes's practice as a lifelong Buddhist informed his simple lifestyle and activism, all the while gaining national prominence with his relentless pursuit of justice for the downtrodden. He marshaled his facts, framed his arguments persuasively, and acted patiently and resolutely. Always, his goal was justice. Typically, he reached that goal.


“Most people have a problem with being egotistical, but Alvin does not. That fits well with me. You make a statement by what you do, much more than by what you say. He’s genuine. He’s genuine. I appreciate that.” —The Reverend Wheeler Parker, cousin of Emmett Till


Alvin Sykes was a longtime human-rights worker and activist. His untiring efforts to achieve justice for others led him across the country and to the halls of power in Washington, D.C. A tenth-grade dropout, Sykes got his legal education at the public library, the institution he calls the Great Equalizer.  

Monroe Dodd, Sykes’s collaborator on Show Me Justice, was an editor for more than 30 years at The Kansas City Star and its onetime morning edition, The Kansas City Times


Show Me Justice: The Happy Life Journey of Alvin Lee Sykes

By Alvin Sykes • With Monroe Dodd

Mission Point Press

9781961302396 • Paperback • $16.95 • May