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date: 08 March 2021

Hampton, Jameslocked

(08 April 1909–04 November 1964)
  • Theresa Leininger-Miller


Hampton, James (08 April 1909–04 November 1964), artist, was born in Elloree, South Carolina, the son of James Hampton, believed to have been a gospel singer and Baptist preacher who abandoned his wife (identity unknown) and four children for his itinerant calling. A shy, thin man with little formal education, Hampton moved to Washington, D.C., around the age of nineteen. He began to have religious visions at the age of twenty-two but told few, if any, about them; nor did he belong to a congregation. Nothing is known of his activities from 1928 to 1939. He worked as a short-order cook in local cafes from 1939 to 1942, until he joined the federal labor force, then served with the 385th Aviation Squadron (a noncombatant unit) in Texas, Seattle, Hawaii, Saipan, and Guam during World War II. After receiving an honorable discharge in 1945, he returned to Washington, D.C., where in 1946 he became a janitor for the General Services Administration. He had hoped to find a holy woman to help him with his life’s ambition, but he never married....

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