J.D. McClain’s Day in Court

  • Image for J.D. McClain’s Day in Court
  • Image for J.D. McClain’s Day in Court
  • Image for J.D. McClain’s Day in Court
  • Image for J.D. McClain’s Day in Court
4 images
Created by
Donaldson, Jeff, American, 1932 - 2004
Subject of
Jackson, Jonathan, American, 1953 - 1970
Haley, Harold Joseph, American, 1904 - 1970
Black Panther Party, American, 1966 - 1982
AfriCOBRA, founded 1968
Medium
paint on cardboard with ink on paper
Dimensions
H x W (artwork): 29 1/8 × 19 5/16 in. (74 × 49 cm)
H x W x D (frame): 31 1/8 × 21 3/16 × 1 3/4 in. (79.1 × 53.8 × 4.5 cm)
Type
paintings
mixed media
Place depicted
San Rafael, Marin County, California, United States, North and Central America
Date
1970
Description
This mixed media work is Jeff Donaldson's interpretation of a photograph taken of the 1970 Marin County courthouse incident. The original newspaper photograph and caption can be seen in the center of the image. The figure on the left in the artwork has his left hand outstretched and the source image in the palm of his hand. In the original photograph, the man on the left is James McClain. In both images, he is holding a gun in his right hand at eye level pointed toward the figure on the right. Unlike McClain in the newspaper photograph, the man in the painting is wearing a black and white horizontally striped shirt with white numbers, [81970], on a black strip reminiscent of prison clothing. He is also wearing tan pants and a white jacket.
The figure on the right in the original image is California Superior Court Judge Harold Haley dressed in black court dress robes. In Donaldson's mixed media piece, the black robes are partially visible but Haley's figure has a skull in place of his head and is reaching toward the man on the left. The piece is multicolored. In the center is black text on a white background that reads [GLASS] and repeats [-SS] below. To the left of the skull is [A] in the stars and stripes pattern of the American flag. The artist signed the work at the bottom. The artwork is floating in a white frame.
Topic
African American
Art
Black power
Law
Mass media
Prisons
Credit Line
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
Object number
2017.33.2
Restrictions & Rights
© Jeff Donaldson
See more items in
National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection
Classification
Visual Arts
Data Source
National Museum of African American History and Culture

NOTE: Cataloging is an ongoing process and we may update this record as we conduct additional research and review. If you have more information about this object, please contact us at NMAAHCDigiTeam@si.edu.