Eliot Battle Remembered at Reynolds Alumni Center
COLUMBIA - The Reynolds Alumni Center will show a documentary Thursday evening to commemorate the late Dr. Eliot Battle.
The event originally had Battle attending and a part of the panel that follows the movie, but his recent passing forced organizers to change the itinerary.
"We want to give our alumni and campus community an opportunity to view this documentary about a great man to the city of Columbia.," Robert Ross, the Missouri Alumni Association Affinity Relations Cooardinator, said. "While Dr. Battle was supposed to be a part of the panel, we still decided to go ahead with this. We feel it's important to show the work that he did."
Eliot Battle is credited with breaking down a lot of the color barriers in Columbia. He was the first African-American teacher hired at Hickman High School. People say his calm demeanor gave him the ability to bridge the gap between races and change Columbia for the better.
"He was probably more on the lines of Martin Luther King without the rallies but my impression of Eliot is that he was very effective in getting things accomplished but he didn't feel like he had to stand up and shout to get attention," Ross said.
The documentary focuses on Battle's pivotal role in desegregating schools, housing, and the Columbia Community. Ross said he faced resistance from both black and white communities, but said his quiet resolve allowed him to block it all out.
There is a panel after the documentary for people to ask questions to Eliot's daughter