MMD October 2, 2014 0

Compared to other gangsters of his era very little is known about Ellsworth Raymond Johnson, better known as Bumpy. Born on Halloween in 1905 in Charleston, South Carolina, it is believed that even at a young age Bumpy showed signs of a short temper and a disdain for Caucasians, not surprising given he was growing up in the early 1900’s South. When he was 14 years old, realizing they couldn’t control him, his parents sent him to stay with his older sister Mabel who was living in Harlem. With the roaring twenties and prohibition about to begin and Harlem being the mecca for African Americans, there was no better place for Bumpy to showcase his talents. Upon his arrival, Bumpy was likely blown away by what he saw and one can only imagine the young criminal saw nothing but opportunity. Johnson hit the ground running and began building a fierce reputation amongst his peers and was known as a skilled street fighter, rarely, if ever, losing a fight. This, along with his fearless nature, leadership ability, and his high level of intelligence, made him a top prospect for the established gangsters in the neighborhood who were in the market for young toughs.  Bumpy eventually became associated with highly prominent figure in the numbers game, Stephanie St. Claire also known as Madame St. Claire or Queenie, for whom he worked as an enforcer. Bumpy wrapped up one of his many prison sentences in 1932 and came home to find that things on the street were in a state of turmoil. With prohibition coming to an end, the Mafia, which was at its apex of power was looking for new sources of income and set its sights on the numbers rackets in Harlem. Their point man was the vicious Dutch Schultz who was a successful bootlegger and high ranking associate of the Mafia. He targeted numbers bankers and coerced them, mostly with the threat of extreme violence, to give up their operations. Bumpy decided he wouldn’t let it happen and stood up for Madame St. Claire and other numbers operators. He fought tooth and nail to keep the numbers rackets in Harlem and Black owned. The war lasted for three years until Lucky Luciano decided that Schultz was becoming more trouble than he was worth and had him killed. Luciano kept the operations Shultz had taken over in Harlem but made a deal with Johnson that those who had fought to remain independent would stay that way. With that one deal Bumpy became a hero to all Harlemites and with good reason as no Black gangster had ever even come close to cutting a deal with the Mafia. Bumpy was the official king of Harlem and anybody wanting to make a move in Harlem had to go through him first. The Mafia also consulted with him on Harlem business. His star had risen and friendships with the likes of Sugar Ray Robinson, Billie Holiday, and other high profile celebrities were proof of that.  Amongst his other criminal dealings, Bumpy dealt heavily in narcotics and was arrested and served time for the offense a few times. While his life was full of gun and knife fights, his death was much less dramatic. Bumpy passed away in his beloved Harlem at Wells Restaurants where he had just ordered a chicken leg, grits, and a cup of coffee. Bumpy simply collapsed and was pronounced dead shortly after at a nearby hospital. Bumpy was unique in many ways. He was highly intelligent and well read, traits that usually aren’t synonymous with a life of crime. He also loved his people and looked out for them buying them presents at Christmas and turkeys at Thanksgiving. When he sat down for a bowl of ice cream he made sure every child present had ice cream as well. Bumpy is the most important African American gangster in the history of the United States. None who came after were as powerful, organized, or ambitious. When Bumpy died, the king of Harlem title died with him. There has never been another man worthy of it.

Article By: Jon DaBove

Leave A Response »

400-101"> CCIE Routing and Switching Psalm 100-101 NKJV - A Song of Praise for the LORD's 70-410 C2020-703 70-412 Microsoft Real Exam Questions - 100% Free VCE Files 117-202 117-202 070-412 70-417 Microsoft 70-411 Practice Test : Pacifichem 2015 070-480 200-120 CCENT/CCNA ICND1 100-105 Official Cert Guide: 70-487 350-018 350-018 300-207 117-201 Download C9530-404 Exam PDF Questions Answers 4a0-100 70-243 352-001 352-001 117-202 CCNA Routing and Switching ICND2 200-101 Official Cert 4a0-100 600-199 070-410 Pass CISCO 300-115 exam - test questions 70-410 70-331 352-001 070-346 1Z0-060 70-417 C2090-930 4a0-107 JN0-643 210-060 SFC Engineering LLC | Microsoft 070-463 dumps Exam & 1z0-051 dumps Dumps 642-887 dumps 600-199 exam e20-690 dump 070-688 exam RCDD-001 400-351 vce h12-211 pdf Exam Test C2090-930 exam Questions VCE on Vimeo 102-400 exam 70-696 pdf 070-685 vce sk0-004 study guide 101-400 exam 1z0-061 dumps adm 211 practice exam 300-360 dumps 642-996 pdf 100% Pass Guarantee of Your 200-125 dumps 352-001 pdf 200-101 vce 200-310 pdf 100-105 dumps 210-260 pdf 642-732 pdf jn0-643 dumps 642-737 dumps 210-060 pdf 70-243 exam SAP c_hanaimp151 dumps Dumps 300-101 practice test 300-320 exam 300-070 vce 300-075 study guide ex200 study guide 300-115 dumps Cisco 400-101 pdf exam - Reliable IT Certifications Expert on Cisco sy0-401 pdf 101-400 1Z0-061 ADM-211 300-360 642-996 RCDD-001 400-351 H12-211 C2090-930 102-400 Best Lpi 101-400 certification practice 1Z0-061 ADM-211 300-360 642-996 200-120 Best Cisco 100-101 Questions And Answers 070-411 70-410 C2020-703 SK0-004 101-400 1Z0-061 ADM-211 Download 300-360 Exam PDF Questions Answers 350-018 070-410 70-410 100-101 642-747 642-996 300-360 CAS-002 Best Oracle 1Z0-061 IT Test 101-400 H12-211 400-351 RCDD-001 070-688 642-887 JN0-692 Cisco 642-035 exam questions with accurate answers 70-486 220-802 642-742 JN0-343 70-470 642-998 Download Cisco 810-403 Dumps 70-533 70-496 1Z0-047 98-366 500-260 100% Pass 642-732 Exam: Cisco 200-125 2V0-620 300-070 E05-001 JN0-360 300-070 Download VMware 2V0-620 Exams - Free VCE Exams For All 70-346 1Z0-060 1Z0-434 100-101 EX300 N10-006 640-916 HP0-S41 : Building HP Server Solutions Certification Training 70-461 070-346 300-206 HP0-S42 CCNP Routing and Switching ROUTE 300-101 Official Cert Guide 210-451 1Z0-803 EX200 70-532 70-534 210-060 210-065 300-075 300-115 CCDA 200-310 Official Cert Guide, 5th Edition - Cisco Press 300-320 200-125 SY0-401 210-260 352-001 70-411 70-243 70-413 70-331 Easy and Guaranteed 642-747 Exam Success 117-201 200-120 070-411 700-505 700-501 648-232 640-911 The Latest Microsoft 070-462 Exam Study Guide and Exam 100-105 117-201 C9530-404 070-480 70-487 300-115 PMP Best Cisco 300-075 Dumps - Palm United Methodist Church 210-065 210-060