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Famous Like Me > Actor > H > James Hampton

Profile of James Hampton on Famous Like Me

Name: James Hampton  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 9th July 1936
Place of Birth: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA
Profession: Actor
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

James Hampton (1909-1964) was an African-American janitor who secretly built a throne from scavenged materials.

James Hampton was born April 8, 1909 in Elloree, South Carolina. His father was a gospel singer and a traveling Baptist preacher. In 1928 Hampton left for Washington DC to join his elder brother Lee. They shared an apartment. James Hampton worked as a short-order cook until 1942 when he was drafted into US Air Force. He served as a carpenter with the noncombatant 385th Aviation Squadron around the Pacific theatre. He was honorably discharged in 1945 and returned to Washington DC.

In 1946 Hampton became a night janitor with the General Services Administration. In 1950 he rented a garage in northwest Washington. His brother Lee died in 1948. Hampton died of stomach cancer on November 4, 1964 at the Veteran's Hospital in Washington DC. He never married.

A month later Meyer Wertlieb, owner of the garage, came to find out why the rent had not been paid. He knew that Hampton had been building something in the garage. When he opened the door, he found a room filled with a glittering throne.

For 14 years, Hampton had been building a throne out of various old materials like silver and gold foil, old furniture, various pieces of cardboard, old light bulbs, shards of mirror and old desk blotters. He had pinned it together with tacks, glue, pins and tape.

The text The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations' Millennium General Assembly was written on the objects in Hampton's handwriting. He had emblazoned the words Fear Not above the central throne. The garage contained total of 177 objects. Many of them were inscribed with words out of the biblical book of Revelations. The objects on the left side of the central throne seem to refer to the New Testament and those on the right side to the Old Testament.

Hampton had also kept a 112-page notebook, titled St James: The Book of the 7 Dispensation, written in his personal code. He referred to himself as St. James and ended each page with the word "Revelation". He had written more text on various pieces of paper and cardboard. Some of them refer to religious visions. Hampton's personal code remains unsolved.

The story became public on December 15, 1964 issue of the Washington Post. Hampton had kept his project secret; his relatives first heard about it when his sister came to claim his body.

Wertlieb sold the throne to two people who anonymously donated it to the National Museum of American Art of the Smithsonian Institution in 1970.

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article James Hampton