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Leo Twiggs is one of the South’s best-known artists, with several years of experience under his wings. The Claflin University and New York University graduate is the first student to graduate with a doctorate in art from the University of Georgia.

Twiggs was born in St. Stephen, South Carolina in 1934. After attending Claflin in his home state, Twiggs studied briefly at the Art Institute of Chicago before his NYU stint where he studied under famed muralist Hale Woodruff en route to earning his MFA degree.

In 1970, Twiggs earned his UGA doctorate then began teaching art at South Carolina State University in 1973. He developed the school’s art department and the  I.P. Stanback Museum while there. Twiggs left the school in 1998 and was named Professor Emeritus two years later. He is also the first visual artist to win the Verner Award (Governor’s Trophy) for his contributions to art in South Carolina.

Skilled in many mediums, Twiggs gained notoriety of his depiction of the Confederate Flag, which he explained in interviews represented several opposing sides of life in the deep south. Twiggs applied the angle of race in his artwork and has done over 70 one-man shows in his still ongoing career. He is also a distinguished artist in residence at Claflin University.

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(AP Photo/Bruce Smith)

Little Known Black History Fact: Leo Twiggs  was originally published on