Wednesday, February 22, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CST
Eliot Battle worked for Columbia public schools for 41 years and helped end segregation.
Battle and his wife, Muriel, were honored as Citizen of the Year for Columbia in 2000. Muriel Battle died in 2003.
In 2009, MU honored Eliot Battle with an honorary doctorate. The 2011 documentary film "Battle: Change from Within," showcases Battle's role in desegregating the Columbia community.
In 1985, Muriel Battle graduated from MU with a doctorate in education. During the celebration of the event in their home, Muriel and Eliot Battle sit in front of their four children. (From left): Carolyn, Eliot Jr., Muriel Jean, and Donna. Muriel Battle passed away in 2003.
(left to right) Eliot F. Battle, a distinguished Columbia educator, receives an honorary degree, at the Hearnes Center on Dec. 18, 2009. An honorary degree is one of the highest honors MU gives. During his speech, Eliot "thought about the people in his life and just how special they are." He also accepted his honor "on behalf of all those giants whose shoulders they allowed him to stand."
Eliot Battle reads "Buzz Said the Bee" to children on April 23, 2010, at the Early Learning Center in Columbia. The Minority Men's Network is launching a program to get children interested in reading and to get men involved in reading to serve as positive role models.
Eliot Battle visits with friends, a group of regulars, on the morning of Feb. 22, 2012, at Hy-Vee Cafe. Battle's pioneering role in desegregating Columbia schools is featured in the documentary, "Battle: Change From Within."
Jan Mees, left, speaks with Eliot Battle, right, and presents him with a flower at the Mees watch party at Jack's Gourmet Restaurant on April 6, 2010. Jan Mees, who is still currently a Columbia School Board member, won her election for the board.
Eliot Battle stands next to a few of the many plaques that he and his wife have been awarded for their years of service in the Columbia community. Battle was the only one of about 120 faculty members who transferred to Hickman High School to help with the integration of students from Douglass. "Integration wasn't too difficult me because I'd been so active in the community, and it wasn't anything new," Battle said.
Eliot Battle dances with his wife, Muriel, who died in 2003. The two attended a party at the University Club in 2000.
Al Plummer, left, shakes hands with Columbia School Board candidate Jan Mees, right. Eliot Battle, center, is the honorary chairman of her campaign. They were all at at the 52nd annual United Way meeting and awards program at Stony Creek Inn on March 13, 2007. Mees is currently a member of the board.