Bumpy Johnson was strongly associated with one of the most prolific female mob boss, Stephanie St. Clair. He was born in Ellsworth Raymond Johnson in Charleston, South Carolina on October 31, 1905. Bumpy got his nickname from the bump he had at the back of his head.

The infamous criminal was known to be short-tempered and arrogant during his childhood years. He also had a strong dislike of the White people. His older brother, Willie, was implicated in the killing of a White man while he was still a young kid. And fearing that the family would be lynched, his parents decided to send him to his older sister in Harlem.

Bumpy Johnson’s Criminal Career


Reports about Bumpy’s criminal activities started surfacing in the weekly journal called the Jet. The publication was widely read by African-American communities mostly living in the New York and Chicago area.

The gangster’s name was so prolific during the 1930s that people feared him despite his Harlemite efforts to help impoverished Blacks. His “tough guy” persona pervaded during his Mafia days that he spent almost half of his life in jail.

Johnson was arrested more than 40 times for charges that included burglary, drug conspiracy, and qualified theft. He spent most of his years being incarcerated in San Francisco’s Alcatraz Prison.

Johnson’s Downfall and His Death


At the age of 62, having been indicted for drug conspiracy charges, Johnson went to the Well’s Restaurant to have late dinner. Just as the waitress has served his food, he fell on the floor clutching his chest.

A childhood friend was there with him and a person ran a couple of blocks to get another childhood friend, Junie Byrd. As Byrd cradled the 62-year old man in his arms, Johnson opened his eyes for a bit and smiled.

Johnson was taken to the Harlem Hospital but was pronounced dead. He died of congestive heart failure and his body was buried at the Woodland Cemetery in Bronx, New York.