Happy Birthday Ellsworth Raymond ‘Bumpy’ Johnson

Today on Halloween, we take a look back at Bumpy Johnson's life. A man, who many people are still trying to be.

For many of you, today is Halloween, but October 31st, is also the birthday of one of the most infamous men many people still want to be. I’m talking about Bumpy Johnson, aka Harlem’s Godfather.

It’s no coincidence that Ellsworth was born on the day that we dress up as others we want to be in hopes of getting a “trick” or “treat”. If you heard of his reputation, it was a mandatory for you to stay on his good side, or you’ll see as how he was portrayed in such films as Hoodlum with Laurence Fishbourne and Vanessa Williams.

He allegedly was the one who helped set-up the first and only successful escape from Alcatraz during the Jim Crow Era, when they refused to feed the black inmates.

Many of you may be wondering why I am celebrating someone who most would refer to as a “bad man” but please read the book, Harlem Godfather: The Rap on my Husband, Ellsworth “Bumpy” Johnson, to see why.

He was a boy, who grew to become a man that was made a Gangsta, but he certainly helped the people.

Please don’t judge him by what he did.

Think about all the celebrities that have prison records, Frank Sinatra, Jimmy Hendrix, etc. and perhaps even your own past.

Bonnie and Clyde gets so much glamorization in Hollywood films, and I think Bumpy and Madame Stephanie “Queenie” St. Clair should too!

Queenie and The King of Harlem
Madame St. Clair and Bumpy Johnson

“Like the saying goes every sinner has a future, and every saint has a past!”

And with that it’s not what you did in life, but why and what you do with it.

He was a regular in Jet Magazine, the original 50 Cent, as he too was shot multiple times and survived.

Information via Jet Magazine online archive, search Bumpy Johnson
Information via Jet Magazine online archive, search Bumpy Johnson

But most importantly he was a dedicated husband, loving father and all around good person who wanted to help people succeed in the areas in which he failed.

No, I didn’t know him personally, but I just believe, so Happy Halloween and Birthday to Ellsworth Raymond “Bumpy” Johnson, the man, myth, legend, and legacy.

He was the REAL Boardwalk Empire as you can see in the exhibition featured at the Las Vegas Mob Museum.

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