Eliot Battle looks back on his career in education

February is Black History Month and is the time of year to reflect back on the lives of African Americans who made an impact on our lives.

KRCG TMs Mark Slavit recently sat down for a one on one interview with an icon of Columbia TMs black community. Eliot Battle is the focus of Mark TMs Inside Columbia Magazine report for February.

The retired educator was the first African American to work in an integrated Columbia school. Battle left Columbia TMs all black Douglass High School and became a guidance counselor at a new Hickman High School in 1960.

Some of the parents wanted to see Douglass still operate as a separate school," Battle said. "Those parents weren TMt too thrilled at the thought of moving the kids to a different institution, but as time went by, it was proven that it was the right thing to happen at the time.

Battle recently received Mizzou TMs highest honor. University leaders gave him an honorary doctorate during a commencement in December.

I was very surprised," Battle said. "When you reach 85 years of age, you think that most of the honors you are going to be receiving have been received already long past. When I got the letter from the president saying that I had been selected, I was temporarily in shock, but I recovered.

One thing Eliot Battle will never recover from is the death of his wife Muriel seven years ago. Muriel Battle was also a Columbia educational icon.

Eliot Battle said he thinks about his wife Muriel everyday. The name Battle will forever be associated with Columbia TMs Martin Luther King Memorial here along Columbia TMs MKT Trail. Both Eliot and Muriel were key players in the construction of this project.

You can read Mark TMs entire article with Eliot Battle in this month TMs edition of Inside Columbia Magazine.