In all our disparateness we met many times, and we became more comfortable with each
    other and with the idea of uniting, something which Wadsworth and Jeff, who as friends
    on the art fair circuit had talked about some years prior.  But uniting for what?  That was
    the question before us, as no one had really put a definitive finger on a specific goal,
    mission, or plan other than the idea that we needed to form a group to work together to
    do something.   Barbara, Wadsworth, Jae, and Jeff were already well along in their
    individual careers,  but as a group we were stabbing out in the dark with respect to what
    we wanted to accomplish collectively.   So called groups abounded.  Donaldson was
    already part of the group of artists led by Bill Walker, who painted the tribute to Black
    heroes on 43rd and Langley - The Wall of Respect (Wadsworth, Barbara, and Carolyn
    Lawrence also contributed to the wall).  Another group of artists painted the “Wall of
    Truth” just across the street.  There was the short lived, event specific COBRA
    (Coalition of Black Revolutionary Artists) group, which, with Jeff as one of their
    organizers and spokespersons, was spontaneously shepherded to protest Columbia
    College's conference on Black art that had eschewed the involvement of any of the local
    artists.  OBAC was a group comprised mainly of literary and performing artists, and
    there was the National Conference of Artists that was an amorphous body made up
    chiefly of art educators who held a convention once a year.  Later, there was the BAG
    (Black Art Guild) which is certainly worthy of further historical review for their collective

    Donaldson had even arranged for visual artists to meet in Harper Court (the soon to be
    demolished center of culture in Hyde Park) to discuss organizing. I offered to help
    circulate flyers and to spread the word, and perhaps 20 to thirty artists showed up on a
    hot Summer night.  None, it turned out, were impressed with what Jeff was proposing,
    and some voiced outright negative reactions to the idea.  He commented to me
    afterward, as he picked up a couple of the flyers that had been thrown on the floor,
    “these people aren’t ready.... we ought to just press on.”  The “we” were himself,
    Wadsworth, Jae, Barbara  and me, the “coalition of the willing,” who had already
    committed ourselves to the idea of unity.  Many artists began to come to our sessions
    from time to time, but none were really interested in an ongoing relationship, though
    they seemingly were stimulated by the discussions.  A few were full of ideas and
    suggestions.   One graphic artist for the City, who went by the name, Mineral suggested,
    on one occasion, that in order to become successful and to attract attention we needed
    to hold a banquet to give testimonials for one of the local politicians, and have him say
    wonderful things about us.  He was serious, but it never happened of course.  
    Everybody, it seemed, had great ideas.    

    We brought work to the meetings to be critiqued or reviewed.  The first painting that I
    brought in was of the woman who used to sell peanuts near the El at 63rd and Cottage
    Grove.  Titled the Peanut lady this painting elicited comments like  “....hmmm, nice, I’
    ve seen that lady” but....”  It was a start of our process of analyzing work and deciding
    what was square one or baseline for each person to build upon.      The first painting
    that I produced as a direct result of embarking on the AFRICOBRA's road least traveled
    was of a young boy sitting pensively with an intense expression on his face (some think
    he is frowning).  I called it “Ready, Set, Go.”  That was the first painting that I
    accomplished using acrylic paints, which all of us had just begun to use by 1968.   The
    “Black family” was the subject of the first work that we decided to do using the same
    theme and utilizing lettering or written statements.  I  painted a  mother, father, and a
    couple of children sitting at a dinner table.  The others composed the family in a
    portrait.  The cumbersomeness of my original composition caused me to abandon it and
    I finally settled upon the more characteristic pose, which one critic termed predictable.  
    Say it Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud” poured from windows and car radios, and
    beamed on the faces of people passing on the street.

    The only other common subject that we worked on, during that period, was based on the
    attitude “I am better than those Motherfucker’s and They Know It.”  That sentiment was
    too extreme for everyone to deal with, even for the person who introduced it, but as I
    conptemplated my own approach to the subject I thought of the weekly mantra that
    Jessie Jackson used to recite at his Saturday morning Operation Breadbasket (later
    Operation PUSH) meetings, which I used to attend.  At the end of his sermons at the
    packed Capital Theater, Rev. Jackson would abruptly end with a thundering “I am.
    Somebody..... What Time is it?....  It's nation time.”  Those themes resonated strongly
    and resulted in the two painting that I titled so, out of deference to a feeling that being
    positive about oneself mitigated any negative feeling, thoughts, or actions about others
    that can make you less than you are, rendering it unnecessary to vocalize the thought of
    being better than anyone. That was my “I Am Better Than....” painting