Luska Joseph Twyman

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Abstracted from many sources and reported in Barren’s Black Roots, Volume 2, Michelle Gorin Burris, (c) Aug 1992. By permission. Abstraction by Sandi Gorin, Gorin Genealogical Publishing




                Luska Joseph Twyman, A.B., M.S., L.L.D., born at Hiseville, Barren County, May 19, 1913 of parents of Edward and Eliza Twyman, both deceased. His early education came through school at Hiseville, but was continued in the public schools of Indiana at Franklin and Indianapolis.


                After completing high school in Frankfort, Kentucky, where he was a honor student, he entered Kentucky State College graduating with majors in History and Education. There he joined the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. He taught six years in the Barren County School System (Oak Grove), before transferring to the Glasgow School System where he taught Social Studies two years prior to entering military service.


                A four year tour of duty in the military service took Twyman to the Philippine Island where he served as a special agent throughout the military base from Leyte Gulf to Manila. Upon separation from the service in 1946, he re-entered Indiana University and continued his graduate studies. Receiving the masters degree in administration in 1947, he accepted the principal of the Glasgow School, bringing with him Russel Conley, as associate in his work in the Philippines. Twyman continued his studies at Indiana towards the doctorate degree.


                In 1950, after much labor and effort in corralling the interest of the community for the need of a new school plant to house the Negro youth of the area, a revenue bond issue was passed and the Bunch School structure was started, to be completed in 1955, with gymnasium and industrial arts shop. This was the most complete school program (grades 1-12) ever provided for Glasgow and surrounding areas. A high school program with home economics, physical education and manual arts was set u along with the sciences. Students from Barren, Metcalfe, and Monroe Counties were in attendance. The faculty grew to 14. An outstanding basketball team was developed that grew state wide attention, winning many district and regional titles and were state representatives from the Fifth Region.


                The school grew and received much credit for its graduates that totaled several hundred many of whom have gone on to high accomplishments throughout the nation. Others have married and built homes and families, thus becoming good citizens in this and other communities. Seven of the faculty members brought to the system of Principal Twyman now remain in the system – they include, Ada and Russell Conley, Lucille Wood, Carrie Morrison, Gladys Twyman and Johnny Herron.


                In 1964 the high school was consolidated with the Glasgow High School and the Bunche School converted to a Sixth grade center. Twyman served as assistant Principal in the Glasgow High School 1964-1975, assuming the principal of the Bunch Center in 1965, and presently remaining in this position. [since deceased].


                We cannot leave the school program without briefly stating the effective work Principal Twyman did in effecting a smooth transition to the integration movement in the system. Much credit must go to him in his tireless effort in this direction. He served as a consultant and constant resource person in this direction, visiting and speaking to church and civic groups. It must be remembered that much credit must go to the fine athletes also.


                Leaving the school area, while Mayor Twyman’s work was integrated with civil improvements constantly, we shall give some attention to his specific enterprises.


                In 1963, he ran for and was elected to the Glasgow Common Council – the first of his race to become an elected official in Barren and surrounding areas. He led the entire ticket of 12 men, repeating this successful effort for two additional terms. He was elected Pro-Tem Mayor for the 1968 Council, and in October 1968, he was elected by fellow Councilmen to fill the Mayor’s chair upon the resignation of Mayor Robert Lessenberry. In November 1969, he ran and was elected to a full term beginning January 1970, an event acclaimed by news media around the world as attested by telegrams, letters and other mediums of communication. General Russell Doughtery on a recent visit to Glasgow, stated that he was in Stutghart, Germany, when a local newspaper carried the picture and story. National commentators carried the story throughout the nation.


                INVOLVEMENTS:  Mayor Twyman has been instrumental in much of the communities activities, social, civil and religious. He has spoken to possibly every civic club in the community and is in constant demand in and out of the City. He has been a member of the Municipal Housing Commission as a minority representative since its inception. This organization has done much in providing low-rent housing through the government for much of Glasgow’s population. Original member of OEO (not defunct, member Barren County Chamber of Commerce, Rotary International, Area Development Council composed of a ten county area, member Comprehensive Health Council appointed by Governor Nunn. Recently appointed to Advisory Council, United Department of Agriculture by Secretary of Ariculture (one of 16 members in the nation), member Title III ESEA, and many local organizations.


                HONORS:  First member of his race to hold office in local Educational Association – that of Treasurer. First of his race to serve on Credential Committee, KWEA. One of two Negroes to be selected by Southern Education Foundation for fellowship to George Peabody College for study for the doctorate. Outstanding Citizens Award – Louisville Defender, 1963; Outstanding Alumni Award, Kentucky State College, 1969; a Kentucky Colonel, received the degree Doctor of Laws, Simmons University, 1970. Honorary Citizen Award Nashville, Louisville and Franklin, and has received numerous plaques and awards in education and citizenship.


                Twyman has had wide and various speaking engagements to civic, religious and educational groups at Tennessee State College, Kentucky State College, Louisville, Memphis, Franklin, Russellville and Hopkinsville.


                RELIGIOUS ACTIVITIES:  Church affiliation at an early age – Baptist Church. Deacon and Sunday School teacher for many years. He holds to an unwavering faith in God; attributing any success to his faith and obedience to the will of God. His religious philosophy is expressed in the Biblical statement – “Seek ye first the kingdom of Heaven and its righteousness and all other things shall be added unto you.” He is secretary of the District Association and attends state and national bodies regularly.


                TRAVEL: His tour of duty in the military service carried him to the Asiatic Theater of War. He has traveled in Canada and Mexico extensively. His domestic travels have engulfed most of the continental United States.


                HOBBIES: Basketball is a favorite sport interest and much time is spent enjoying this game. Then, gardening holds a great interest – both vegetables and flowers. He enjoys music and has a primary knowledge of the piano.


                Mayor Twyman is married to the former Gladys Woodson of Hart County. Ms. Twyman is a graduate of Kentucky State College, a teacher in the Glasgow System, having taught in the Hart County and Horse Cave Systems prior to joining the Glasgow System. The Twymans have no children.


                Mayor Twyman has been instrumental in the employment advances of Negro personnel in the area, taking personal interest in seeking employment upgrading. Along with this has been the consistent effort to upgrade the housing possibilities of the area – both of these efforts being very rewarding.


                While many improvements and great strides have been made in the civil, social, religious and economic life of the Black community; much still needs to be done and his efforts are endless in this direction. Few people will ever know just how extensive and continuous this effort is on his part.


                “There are always those people who feel you should have done more or done differently.” Twyman says in talking about the community, “usually those whom you have done most for, or the one who complain most and expect most. No one has ever satisfied all people; so I try to do the best for the most people – that’s all I can do.”


                Mayor Twyman believes in high moral and ethical standards and feels this is the only way we can raise living standards and perpetuate a healthy, productive people. He believes in equality for all people; and that opportunities should be open to all people on equal and qualified basis – thus preparation is essential to improvement and full participation as an American citizen.


                Mayor Twyman has certain goals for the continued development and growth of the City – continued efforts towards full employment, extension of sewage facilities, street improvement, better jail facilities, more neighborhood parks, expanded police, fire and sanitation departments.


                RECREATION: Mayor Twyman has been involved in the promotion and expansion in the recreational field for many years and has worked closely with the department – the most recent effort being directed toward establishing and developing the Bunch Area Neighborhood Park.


                PUBLICITY:  All major networks have carried news items. Interviews by NBC and CBS, national hookups, radio and television, WSIX, WSM, WHAS, WAVE, and Kentucky Educational Television, plus the magazines and newspapers.


Source unknown, write-up on file at the Mary Wood Weldon Library in Glasgow, KY and written during his life. Quoted in Barren’s Black Roots Volume 2, Michelle Gorin Burris, Gorin Genealogical Publishing, (c) Aug 1992.