David MacDonald is a functional potter who received his degree in art education from Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia, and his MFA from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. His early work was influenced by notable African American ceramic artist Joseph W. Gilliard, the Civil Rights Movement, and politics. His later work celebrates African heritage and other cultures, drawing inspiration from sub-Saharan African design, especially through surface decoration. He was awarded a graduate fellowship at the University of Michigan, and studied with John Stephenson and notable African American ceramicist Robert Stull. For forty years, MacDonald was a faculty member at the School of Art and Design at Syracuse University. His work is featured in the permanent collections of the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, New York; and Montclair Art Museum in Montclair, New Jersey.