Bumpy Johnson’s Wife Mayme Dead At 94


Mayme Hatcher Johnson, the widow of former Harlem underworld boss Bumpy Johnson, died on Friday (May 1).

by Roman Wolfe

The outspoken Mayme Johnson, 94, died in her Philadelphia home of respiratory failure, according to reports.

Mrs. Johnson was born in 1914 in North Carolina. In 1938, she moved to New York, where she eventually met her husband Ellsworth “Bumpy” Johnson.

The pair were married in New York in 1948.

Bumpy was the undisputed king of the Harlem underworld, until he died of a heart attack in a New York restaurant in 1968.

Bumpy was allegedly the mentor of Harlem heroin drug Frank Lucas, who was portrayed by Denzel Washington in the movie American Gangster.

Mayme wrote a book Harlem Godfather: The Rap on My Husband, Ellsworth “Bumpy” Johnson, which was published in 2008.

One of her motives in writing the book was her anger at how her husband was portrayed in movies like Shaft, The Cotton Club, Hoodlum and American Gangster.

Mayme Johnson lashed out at Frank Lucas in the book, due to his Washington’s portrayal of the Heroin dealer in American Gangster.

Mayme considered Lucas a “flunky” in Bumpy Johnson’s organization.

“He was never Bumpy’s driver. Especially no 15-year stretch,” Mayme Johnson told AllHipHop.com. “The real relationship between Bumpy and Frank was basically Frank was just a person that would hold Bumpy’s coat and follow him around and just…very distant, very poor. He had no real relationship with Bumpy. Bumpy had friends like Nat Petigrew, Junie Byrd, Sonny Chance, the Capuzza Brothers and all them people like that. Frank Lucas did not fit into that circle. He was never invited to the house.”

According to sources, Mayme Johnson’s Harlem Godfather: The Rap on My Husband, Ellsworth “Bumpy” Johnson will be turned into a feature film.