Battle: Change From Within

Educator Eliot Battle played a pivotal role he played in desegregating schools, housing, and the Columbia community. As Battle facilitated changes with quiet resolve, he faced resistance from both the black and white communities. His calm demeanor and dedicated work within existing institutions and systems allowed him to bridge the gap between the two races and change Columbia for the better.

Battle, who had been an assistant principal at Columbia's all-black Douglass High School, became a guidance counselor and the first black faculty member at Hickman High School in 1960, serving as an advocate, mentor and mediator during the crucial early years of Hickman's transformation into an integrated school.

Funded by over 90 individuals, the documentary tells his story through archival film footage, newspaper accounts, still photos, and interviews with former students, colleagues, community leaders, Battle's children and Battle himself.

As the 87-year-old Battle puts it, "Fighting from within is the right way to go. The only way you are going to make change is to be a change agent and be in there working with the powers that be.

Middleton and Hicks collaborated on the film with Juanamaria Cordones Cook, MU professor of Spanish, and Barbara Williamson, associate teaching professor in the MU College of Education.

After creating public awareness of the film, MU Extension hopes to integrate parts of the documentary into its 4-H curriculum and leadership training programs. Extension also plans to make "Battle: Change From Within" available to schools as a downloadable video file with an accompanying teaching guide.

Panel discussion will follow the screening. Free and open to the public.

Sponsored by Despain Cayce Dermatology

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