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Bumpy Johnson is a name that carries weight and the burden of a crime filled legacy. We’ve seen out favorite actors portray him in movies about notorious drug lords, but do you know who Bumpy Johnson is?

Here’s 8 facts about the Harlem heroin-hustler that you probably did not know:

  1. Bumpy Johnson was born as Ellsworth Raymond Johnson in Charleston, South Carolina.
  2. Johnson was an African-American mob boss and bookmaker.
  3. Johnson was nicknamed ‘Bumpy’ because of a bump on the back of his head.
  4. Johnson was an associated of ‘numbers queen’ Madame Stephanie St. Clair.
  5. Johnson was arrested more than 40 times and served three prison terms for narcotics-related charges.
  6. Died of heart failure at Wells Restaurant in Harlem on July, 7, 1968 at age 62.
  7. Was portrayed in the 2007 film “American Gangster” by Clarence Williams III as the mentor of Frank Lucas, along with other roles that have been based off of him. The list includes “Shaft,” “Escape from Alcatraz,” “Hoodlum” and “The Cotton Club.”
  8. Johnson had several different aliases and his own granddaughter Margaret struggles with trying to piece together his crime filled legacy.

For more on legendary drug lord Bumpy Johnson tune into TVOne’s “Celebrity Crime Files” Monday, August 5 at 9pm.




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Who is Bumpy Johnson? 8 Facts About the Legendary Harlem Druglord  was originally published on

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