This painting depicts the apartment of Fred Hampton, an African American activist and the chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party. Kerry James Marshall captures Hampton asleep in bed just before he was shot and killed in an early morning raid by officers from the Chicago Police Department on December 4, 1969. The painting—at its very core—epitomizes darkness. Composed of shades of black acrylic paint on black fiberglass, the painting is at first nearly indecipherable, revealing itself as your eyes slowly adjust. Asleep in bed, Hampton is depicted as a near invisible man, conjuring the title of Ralph Ellison’s famous 1952 novel describing the African American experience of the early twentieth century. Hampton’s fiancée and fellow Black Panther, Akua Njeri, pregnant with their first child, has propped herself up in bed, her head turned as if listening. Does she hear police officers collecting outside their door? Is this the moment before the first shots were fired? With Black Painting, Marshall positions himself as both artist and archivist, using blackness as both medium and subject matter. The raid, which produced no police indictments, was one of the most controversial events to take place during the Civil Rights Movement.