COMO YOU KNOW: Eliot Battle

Tuesday, February 21, 2012 | 4:48 p.m. CST; updated 8:31 p.m. CDT, Friday, May 9, 2014
Eliot Battle, retired public school administrator, is the author of "A Letter to Young Black Men." Battle has more than 40 years experience in the public school system and in 1960, he worked as a counselor for Hickman, the first fully integrated high school in Columbia.

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Eliot Battle was a guidance counselor and educator in the Columbia school district for nearly 40 years and worked to end segregation in the district.


  • Married to wife, Muriel, for 52 years. Also an educator, she died in 2003.
  • Four children: Donna Pierce, Carolyn Thomas, Muriel Jean Browder, Eliot Battle Jr.
  • Named Citizen of the Year, along with his wife, in 2000.

Full text:

Eliot Battle was an educator in the Columbia Public Schools from the late 1950s until his retirement in 1991. Originally from Mobile, Ala., he moved to Columbia after being offered a job as assistant principal of Douglass School in 1956. He then became the first black faculty member at Hickman High School in 1960 and helped to end segregation in the district.

He served as a guidance counselor and administrator during his career. Battle received an honorary doctorate from MU in December 2009.

Battle established the Continuing Education Center Program at Douglass High School in 1967. He was also elected president of the Missouri Guidance Association and served on the Board of Trustees at Columbia College. He is the author of the book, "A Letter to Young Black Men," published in 1997.

A documentary film made in 2011 showcases his work within the school district during desegregation.

Links and sources

An interview with Eliot Battle after Muriel Battle chosen as name for new high school

Eliot Battle to receive honorary degree from MU

Columbia civil rights leaders reflect on historic election

Memorial to Martin Luther King Jr. honors Battles

Profile from Columbia Heart Beat

KRCG-TV profile: Eliot Battle looks back on career in education

Community Foundation of Central Missouri profile page

Updated: Feb. 21, 2012

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