JOHN STEWART BATTLE was born in New Bern, North Carolina. He attended Wake Forest College and went on to study law at the University of Virginia, receiving his LL.B. in 1913, after which he practiced law in Charlottesville. He served as a private in the U.S. Army during World War I. He was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1930 to 1934 and of the Virginia Senate from 1934 until 1950, when he became governor. The Korean War broke out during Battle’s administration, leading the governor to reactivate the State Council of Defense. Battle was also an advocate of social reforms, pressing for additional funding for school construction, for improvements in hospitals, for the expansion of local health centers, and for raises in teachers’ salaries. He gained attention at the 1952 Democratic National Convention in Chicago by refusing to submit to a loyalty oath passed by the convention. After leaving office, he became a partner in the law firm of Perkins, Battle and Minor. He was also appointed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to serve on the U.S. Civil Rights Commission.
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