Bumpy Johnson Net Worth at Death – Salary, Income, Earnings

Bumpy Johnson Net Worth 

Bumpy Johnson had an estimated net worth of $100 million at death. Bumpy Johnson was one of Harlem’s most notorious crime bosses of the 20th century. He earned most of his income from drug trafficking. 

Bumpy Johnson was an American crime boss in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood who rose to power under racket boss Stephanie St. Clair and later did business with Italian mobster Charles “Lucky” Luciano. Johnson later mentored Frank Lucas, who took over Harlem’s operations and turned it into a haven for drug trafficking.

To calculate the net worth of Bumpy Johnson, subtract all his liabilities from his total assets. Investments, savings, cash deposits, and any equity he has in a house, car, or other similar asset are included in the total assets. All debts, such as personal loans and mortgages, are included in total liabilities.

Here’s the breakdown of his net worth:

Name: Bumpy Johnson
Net Worth: $100 Million
Monthly Salary: $500 Thousand
Annual Income: $10 Million
Source of Wealth: Drug trafficker

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Early Life and Criminal Beginnings

Ellsworth Raymond “Bumpy” Johnson was born in Charleston, South Carolina on October 31, 1905. Due to an abnormal growth on his head, he was given the nickname “Bumpy.”

After his older brother was arrested for the murder of a white man, Johnson, then 10, was sent to Harlem with the majority of his siblings for safety.

Despite moving north, racism remained a scourge, and Johnson, with his small frame and thick Southern accent, was a target for bullying. Johnson’s bad temper, on the other hand, kept him from being a helpless victim, and he learned to be a scrappy fighter at a young age.

Johnson, a high school dropout, worked odd jobs and hung out with an unsavory crowd, which drew the attention of gangster William “Bub” Hewlett. Johnson rose to prominence as a bodyguard for Harlem’s high-rolling illegal gamblers through Hewlett.

Johnson’s extracurricular activities — burglary, pimping, and so on — would eventually land him in prison for the next decade.

Bumpy Johnson and the Queen

Johnson had spent half of his life in prison by the age of 30. He was a troublemaker who was involved in bribery, thievery, and pimping. He was broke and unemployed when he was released from prison in 1932. When he returned to the streets, he met Stephanie St. Clair (a.k.a. “Madam Queen,” “Queen of the Policy Rackets”), a powerful Harlem crime boss who took Johnson under her wing.

St. Clair, with Johnson’s assistance, waged war on many New York crime bosses, most notably Dutch Schultz.

“Bumpy and his crew of nine waged a sort of guerrilla war, and picking off Dutch Schultz’s men was easy because there were few other white men walking around Harlem during the day,” Johnson’s wife, Mayme Hatcher, revealed in her 2008 biography, Harlem Godfather: The Rap on My Husband, Ellsworth “Bumpy” Johnson.

Johnson murdered and kidnapped over 40 people while serving as St. Clair’s bodyguard and chief enforcer, but the duo’s war against the mob was futile: Schultz and his associates had the law on their side and eventually dominated Harlem’s illegal gambling operations. Schultz’s days, however, were numbered due to his deceptive financial practices, which caused bad blood among the mob ranks. Luciano directed a hit on Schultz, who was assassinated in 1935.

Around the same time, St. Clair, who was desperate to stay out of trouble, decided to hand over her business to Johnson. Johnson and Luciano, once bitter enemies, formed an alliance, allowing Johnson to control all of Harlem’s rackets as an independent operation as long as Luciano’s crew (later identified as the Genovese crime family) received a cut of the profits.

“It wasn’t a perfect solution, and not everyone was happy, but the people of Harlem realized Bumpy had ended the war with no further losses, and had negotiated an honorable peace…., “Hatcher wrote Harlem Godfather. “And they realized that for the first time in history, a Black man had stood up to the white mob rather than simply bowing down and going along to get along.”

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Godfather of Harlem

The community feared Johnson, but they also loved and respected him. Johnson, also known as Robin Hood, helped the most vulnerable of his fellow Harlemites by handing out free turkeys during Thanksgiving and delivering meals and gifts.


Johnson was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 1951 for conspiring to sell heroin in New York, with the majority of his time spent at Alcatraz Prison in San Francisco Bay, California. He was released from prison five years before his death, in 1963.

With over 40 arrests on his record, Johnson found himself under the watchful eye of authorities. In 1965, enraged by their constant surveillance, he staged a sit-down strike at a police station. He was charged with refusing to leave the station, but he was later acquitted.

Movies, TV and Portrayals in Hollywood

Johnson was a character that Hollywood couldn’t ignore because of his renegade criminal background, philanthropy, and love of flashy clothes and poetry. Among the films in which he has appeared are The Cotton Club (1994), The Hoodlum (1997), and American Gangster (2007).

Johnson was portrayed on television by Forest Whitaker in the 2019 series The Godfather of Harlem.

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Johnson died of a heart attack in the early hours of July 7, 1968, while eating soul food at a Harlem restaurant. He was said to have died in the arms of his childhood friend, Junie Byrd, surrounded by confidants.


In 1948, Johnson married Hatcher. Hatcher was born in North Carolina in 1914 (some sources say 1915) and moved to New York in 1938, where she worked as a waitress before becoming a hostess. Ten years later, she ran into Johnson, who had recently completed a ten-year sentence in prison. The couple fell in love right away and married three months later. Hatcher passed away in 2009.

Further Reading

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