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Feb 2024/ Juneteenth Display by Philip Tolbert

Archives Specialist

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Oliver Ellington
Subjects: Artwork


The University of Central Oklahoma’s Max Chambers Library with support from the Liberal Arts GTTF will host librarian and researcher Phillip Tolbert at 3 p.m., Feb. 15, on the first floor of the Chambers Library, located on Central’s campus.

With the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, all enslaved people in the United States were declared free. However, it would take another two years for slaves in Confederate controlled Texas to gain their freedom. Learn the complicated truth as Tolbert tells a compelling story of the day that became known as Juneteenth.

Phillip Tolbert is a Native Oklahoman and alumni of the University of Central Oklahoma earning a B.S. in Education in 1979. From Central he went to OU where in 1981 he obtained a Master’s degree in Library Science. In 1982 Tolbert went to work for the Metropolitan Library System of Oklahoma County. He spent his career there serving at several branches in various position retiring as manager of Capital Hill Library in 2023 after forty years of service.  

Tolbert became known throughout the Library System for his skills in creating informative and attractive displays, exhibits and related programs.  Topics he explores include African American inventors, African American Wisdom, Advocates for Freedom, and Black Wall Street (Greenwood). Tolbert uses displays to educate and engage patrons bringing awareness to significant contributions from the African American community.

In celebration of Black History Month, Tolbert has also curated a display telling the story of Juneteenth, and its impact on Black Americans. The exhibit and presentation are on the 1st floor of the Max Chambers library. This event is free and open to the public. A reception will follow the presentation with refreshments sponsored by the UCO Max Chambers Friends of the Library. The Juneteenth exhibit will be on display until March 1, 2024.