Civil rights leader Sykes dies in Lexington

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Associated Press

Posted on November 29, 2012 at 9:01 AM

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Harry Sykes, Lexington's first black city commissioner, a civil rights leader and former Harlem Globetrotter, has died. He was 85.

Sykes died Wednesday in Lexington of natural causes, Smith and Smith Funeral Home said.

Sykes served four consecutive terms on the old city commission, beginning in 1963. The Lexington Herald-Leader (http://bit.ly/X1jG6Q ) said he was city manager and chief executive officer and elected mayor pro-tem in 1967.

He ran for mayor in 1971, the first black candidate for that office.

Joe Graves, another city commissioner in the 1960s, said after the 1968 assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., Sykes helped pull Lexington together and "give black people confidence in greater justice."

Sykes played two years with the Globetrotters after college at Kentucky State College, now Kentucky State University.

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Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader, http://www.kentucky.com

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