Laurie Battle

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Laurie Calvin Battle (born May 10, 1912 in Wilsonville; died May 2, 2000 in Bethesda, Maryland) was a sociologist, insurance agent and professional advocate who served four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives from the 9th Congressional District of Alabama.

Battle was the son of Methodist minister William Raines Battle and his wife, the former Annie Le Merle Allen. His mother died when he was six, and he was joined by four step-siblings when his father remarried in 1920. Battle graduated from Deshler High School in Tuscumbia in 1930 and enrolled at Birmingham-Southern College.

Battle was a member of the Panthers basketball and football teams. He completed a bachelor of science in psychology in 1934 and went on to attend Vanderbilt University and Scarritt College in Nashville, Tennessee before completing a master of arts in sociology at the Ohio State University in 1939.

After a year on the faculty of Ohio State, Battle went into the U.S. Army Air Corps for World War II. He earned a Bronze Star for his service in the Pacific and was elevated to the rank of Major. After his discharge in 1946, Battle married the former Janis Hunt and enrolled at the University of Alabama.

Battle was recruited by Alabama's "Big Mules" to challenge New Deal Democrat Luther Patrick in the state's the 9th District (Jefferson County). With their backing, he won the 1946 Democratic primary and was sworn into office in January 1947. He was re-elected in 1948, 1950 and 1952 and held a reputation as an anti-Communist conservative, opposed to organized labor, federal housing programs, the Tennessee Valley Authority, foreign aid programs, and the formation of the United Nations.

Battle sponsored the "Battle Act", formally the Mutual Defense Assistance Control Act of 1951, which allowed the President discretion to cancel aid agreements with nations thought to have supplied strategic materials to the Soviet Union and its Cold War allies.

In the 1954 election Battle ran a close race for the U.S. Senate, positioning himself as the states' rights candidate against moderate incumbent John Sparkman, who survived the challenge. George Huddleston Jr won Battle's former house seat.

Battle went on to serve as a delegate to the 1956 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. He entered the race for Governor of Alabama in the 1958 election, but finished fifth, well behind Attorney General John Patterson and newcomer George Wallace.

Battle returned to Washington as staff director and counsel for the House Rules Committee from 1966 to 1976 and as special adviser to the United States League of Savings Associations until 1988. He ran unsuccessfully for a Virginia congressional seat in 1968 and retired from the U.S. Army Reserves in 1972.

Battle died of cancer at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland in 2000. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Preceded by:
Luther Patrick
Representative, 9th Congressional District of Alabama
1947 - 1955
Succeeded by:
George Huddleston Jr

References

  • Spann, Kevin (December 16, 2014) "Laurie C. Battle" Encyclopedia of Alabama online - accessed June 8, 2015