Recorded by AAMSAZ
Elgie Mike Batteau was an educator who was courageous with humility. She was an advocate for SOCIAL JUSTICE before that term was used, but she felt responsible for society. Mrs. Batteau was a University of Arizona graduate who integrated the U of A student union swimming pools and moved here and stayed with her Aunt Rosa (Barnes), who moved to Tucson in 1916.
She taught at the Dunbar School and then moved to Phoenix, Arizona, in the early 1940s, where she taught at the Phoenix Union Colored High School.
This high school was built specifically for African American children and opened as a segregated school for high school students in 1926. Mrs. Batteau was concerned about the school’s name and wanted the children to have pride in their school and pushed for the school to be named George Washington Carver High School after the scholar, scientist and educator.
Black students at the University of Arizona have developed an academic honor society “The Elgie Batteau Honor Society.” Mrs. Batteau and her husband Matthew were of strong faith and dedicated long service to Prince Chapel A.M.E. Church in Tucson and Tanner Chapel A.M.E. Church in Phoenix. In addition they tutored and were mentors for many of their former students as many became teachers following in their footsteps. They held a Day Camp where they taught math, reading, language skills, and shop. This Day Camp included lunch and always Mr. Batteau’s famous Iced Mint Tea!
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