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"Data Processing"

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On TVOne I just recently saw a docmentary on Donald Goines and it was incredibly informative for me.  I was familiar with this author who is a favorite among jail inmates, and who was a pioneer of the  street lit genre, but  I was surprised to learn that this fair-skinned hazel-eyed brother from Detroit was from a well-to-do middle class family, his father being the owner of a cleaning business. 

 

Goines early on had a need to belie his appearance and prove his blackness so he began hangin out with shady characters.  He also altered his birth certificate so he could join the military and go fight in the Korea war at the age of 15.  During his hitch there he became addicted to heroin, a habit that plagued him for the rest of his short life.  He took up writing while serving a short stint in prison for theft, at first trying his hand at westerns.  Inspired by author Iceberg Slim, he later switched to writing what he knew about and Holloway House in LA began to publish his gritty books about criminals and crooked cops and pimps and prostitutes.

 

He came to a violent end  back in the 70s when he was in his late 30s, being shot down along with his common-law wife, in a murder that was never solved but was suspected of being related to bad drug deals and his portrayals that exposed real life crooks in his books. 

 

I'm ashamed to admit that I never knew all this about Goines whose body of work was prolific and still enjoys popularity to this day. 

 

Lately, I've come to appreciate the importance of continuing to seek knowledge and information.  One can never stop learning and to learn is,  to grow.

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