Ellsworth Raymond “Bumpy” Johnson (October 31, 1905 – July 7, 1968) was a New York City crime leader who lived in Harlem.
Ellsworth Raymond “Bumpy” Johnson was born on October 31, 1905, in Charleston, South Carolina, to Margaret Moultrie and William Johnson. Willie, his older brother, was accused of killing a white man when he was ten years old.
Johnson’s parents were concerned about his short temper and insolence with whites as he grew older, so he was sent to live with his older sister Mabel in Harlem in 1919. Johnson dropped out of high school and began working in dangerous environments.
William Hewett, a gangster, began to notice him. Johnson then went to work for him, beginning his life of crime.
Madame Stephanie St. Clair’s companion, Johnson, was a numbers queen. In the 1930s, he rose to become St Clair’s chief lieutenant. Johnson and St. Clair wanted to ignite a battle with Dutch Schultz, the New York mob boss. There were around 40 deaths and multiple kidnappings as a result of the struggle. Eventually, their fight was lost, and Johnson was offered a settlement.
Johnson’s actions were highlighted in Jet magazine’s star persons section in 1952. Johnson was sentenced to 15 years in prison on a heroin narcotics conspiracy charge the same year. Johnson began his term after losing an appeal two years later, according to Jet’s crime section. He spent the majority of his time in prison at Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay, California as inmate No. 1117, and was released in 1963 on parole.
Johnson was arrested over 40 times and served two jail sentences for drug-related offenses. Johnson launched a sit-in strike in a police station in December 1965, refusing to leave in protest of their continuing surveillance. A judge acquitted him of the accusation of “refusal to leave a police station.”
Johnson died of congestive heart failure on July 7, 1968, at the age of 62, while facing a federal indictment for narcotics conspiracy. He was at Wells Restaurant in Harlem soon before 2 a.m., clutching his chest, and the waitress had just served him coffee, a chicken leg, and hominy grits. Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, New York City, is where he is buried.
Johnson was rumored to have a staggering net worth of $100 million which are mainly proceeds from drugs and other crime related activities.