In 1980 Jeff Donaldson was busily preparing for his solo, retrospective exhibition in the
    Howard University Art Gallery. He asked me to write a short testimonial to be included,
    among others, in the shows catalog.  I gladly did so, writing the following:

    “Jeff Donaldson had just stepped out of a snowdrift when I met him for the first time
    [Chicago had had the biggest snowfall in its history in Jan 1967].  That was on the North
    Side of the city on the campus of Northeastern Illinois State College."  For those of us
    who daily made the long trek from “Bronzeville,” the heart of Black civilization in the
    city, it was extremely gratifying to be greeted, as I was by Jeff, with a hearty “what's
    happenin!”  I had not seen any of his artistic work at that time, and I knew only that he
    was teaching in the art department and was the tallest person on the campus.  

    It was not long after that meeting when I saw his work in a one man exhibition in the  
    college's gallery.  The work which I saw had the same resounding ring to it as that
    “what's happenin.”  It was one long, unequivocal statement  about his commitment to
    bringing forth the positive, humane, and dignified portrayal of Black people.  It was no
    wonder that the work embraced the larger spirit in the "Bronzevilles" of the United
    States which called forth the creative persons to concentrate their energies upon
    developing and strengthening our institutions as a necessary facet of the regenerative

    From that spirit grew the organization of Black Arts and Culture, the Wall of Respect, the
    AFRICOBRA, and a host of other collaborative efforts. As an organizer, teacher, worker,
    spokesman, consultant, or supporter, Jeff has, in one way or another, had some
    constructive input, and thereby has made a vaster contribution to the cultural heritage
    of the Blackman than he perhaps realizes. Indeed, when viewers see his work, they will
    see in the regality of “Wives of Shango,” the intimate, impassioned “Victory in the Valley
    of Eshu,” the sublime “Mizdona, and in the other works, the expression of an artist
    keenly tuned to what has happened - past and future.”

Gerald Williams
Presenting Jeff Donaldson
1933 - 2004
Images of Jeff in a 1975 AFRICOBRA Meeting