Donald Goines (pseudonym: Al C. Clark) (December 15, 1936 – October 21, 1974) was an African-American writer of urban fiction. His novels were deeply influenced by the work of Iceberg Slim.
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. At 15 Goines lied about his age to join the Air Force, where he fought in the Korean War. 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. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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