Donald Goines

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Donald Goines
Donald goines.jpg
Born(1936-12-15)December 15, 1936
Detroit, Michigan
DiedOctober 4, 1974(1974-10-04) (aged 37)
Detroit, Michigan, United States
OccupationNovelist
NationalityAmerican
Literary movementBlack literature
Notable worksBlack Gangster
Crime Partners
Death List
Dopefiend
Kenyatta's Escape
Kenyatta's Last Hit
Never Die Alone
Whoreson
 
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Donald Goines
Donald goines.jpg
Born(1936-12-15)December 15, 1936
Detroit, Michigan
DiedOctober 4, 1974(1974-10-04) (aged 37)
Detroit, Michigan, United States
OccupationNovelist
NationalityAmerican
Literary movementBlack literature
Notable worksBlack Gangster
Crime Partners
Death List
Dopefiend
Kenyatta's Escape
Kenyatta's Last Hit
Never Die Alone
Whoreson

Donald Goines (pseudonym: Al C. Clark) (December 15, 1936 – October 21, 1974) was an African-American writer of urban fiction.[1] His novels were deeply influenced by the work of Iceberg Slim.

Life[edit]

Goines was born in Detroit, Michigan on December 15, 1936. His parents were a middle-class black couple that ran a laundry business, with his mother Myrtle Goines telling Goines that her family was descended from Jefferson Davis and a slave.[2] At 15 Goines lied about his age to join the Air Force, where he fought in the Korean War.[3] During his stint in the armed forces, Goines developed an addiction to heroin that continued after his honorable discharge from the military in the mid-1950s. In order to support his addiction Goines committed multiple crimes, including pimping and theft, and was sent to prison several times.[2] He began writing while serving a sentence in Michigan's Jackson Penitentiary. Goines initially attempted to write westerns, but decided to write urban fiction after reading Iceberg Slim's autobiography Pimp: The Story of My Life.[1]

Goines continued to write novels at an accelerated pace in order to support his drug addictions, with some books taking only a month to complete.[2] His sister Joan Goines Coney later said that Goines wrote at such an accelerated pace in order to avoid committing more crimes and based many of the characters in his books on people he knew in real life.[4]

In 1974 Goines published Crime Partners, the first book in the Kenyatta series under the name "Al C. Clark". Holloway House's chief executive Bentley Morriss requested that Goines publish the book under a pseudonym in order to avoid having the sales of Goines's work suffer due to too many books releasing at once.[3] The book dealt with an anti-hero character named after Jomo Kenyatta that ran a Black Panther-esque organization to clear the ghetto of crime. In his book The Low Road, Eddie B. Allen remarked that the series was a departure from some of Goines's other works, with the character of Kenyatta symbolizing a sense of liberation for Goines.[3]

Inner City Hoodlum, which Goines had finished before his death, was published posthumously in 1975. The story, set in Los Angeles, was about "smack", money and murder.

Death[edit]

On October 21, 1974 Goines and his common-law wife were discovered dead in their Detroit apartment. The police had received an anonymous phone call earlier that evening and responded, discovering Goines in the living room of the apartment and his common-law wife Shirley Sailor's body in the kitchen.[4] Both Goines and Sailor had sustained multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and head.[3] The identity of the killer or killers is unknown, as is the reason behind the murders.[3] Popular theories involve Goines being murdered due to his basing several of his characters on real life criminals as well as the theory that Goines was killed due to his being in debt over drugs.[3]

Goines was later buried with his mother placing several of his books in his coffin.[4]

Novels[edit]

Kenyatta series[edit]

  1. Crime Partners (1974) [as Al C. Clark]
  2. Death List (1974) [as Al C. Clark]
  3. Kenyatta's Escape (1974) [as Al C. Clark]
  4. Kenyatta's Last Hit (1975) [as Al C. Clark]

Standalone novels[edit]

Influence[edit]

Goines's writing has had an impact upon several people, with several rappers inserting mentions of Goines and his writing into their lyrics. In his 1996 song Tradin' War Stories, rapper 2Pac writes "Machiavelli was my tutor, Donald Goines my father figure".[2] Ludacris mentions Goines in his 2006 song Eyebrows Down.[5] AZ compares himself to Donal Goines' work in "Rather Unique," with the line, "Your mind's boggled but I'm as deep as Donald Goines' novels." Nas also named the song "Black Girl Lost" on his sophomore album It Was Written after the book by Goines. Goines' books are also utilized in several prison literacy programs and his novel Dopefiend has been taught in a Rutgers University class.[2]

Adaptations[edit]

Films[edit]

Main article: Never Die Alone

Some of Goines's works have been adapted into film. His book Crime Partners was turned into a 2001 film starring Ice-T, Snoop Dogg, and Ja Rule, and in 2004 his book Never Die Alone was also released as a film starring DMX.[6]

Graphic novel[edit]

In 2006 a graphic novel adaptation of the book Daddy Cool was released by Holloway House.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Donald Goines". Kuusankosken kaupunginkirjasto. Retrieved 16 December 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Credentials for Pulp Fiction: Pimp and Drug Addict". New York Times. Retrieved 16 December 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Allen, Eddie (2003). Low Road: The Life and Legacy of Donald Goines. MacMillan. ISBN 0312383517. 
  4. ^ a b c Allen, Eddie (2004-03-24). "Detroit-sploi-tation". Metro Times. Retrieved 16 December 2012. 
  5. ^ . Rapgenius http://rapgenius.com/Ludacris-eyebrows-down-lyrics.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ "FILM REVIEW; Dying Without Remorse, A Bad Guy Who's Lonely". New York TImes. Retrieved 16 December 2012. 

Further reading[edit]