Hampton Woodward Rookard, the son of Ruth Woodward and Walter Rookard, was born January 29, 1929 in Rembert, South Carolina. Hampton migrated to the North with his mother and his sister Margaret. Their first stop was Harlem, then Brownsville, followed by Williamsburg before finally settling in Bedford-Stuyvesant. His early influences towards education and reading were his mother, an elementary schoolteacher, and his loving “Aunt Mae”, Marion McLester, who had remained in the south. Aunt Mae was a principal of her own school for 47 years. Hamp knew early on what he wanted out of life. He became a Merchant Marine by age nineteen and he had been around the world three times over.
Known by many names, Hamp, Prof. Aladjo Akem-Wume or Rolling Black Cloud, was a scholar, an avid reader, motorcycle enthusiast and later a talk show host on WBAI.
He aligned himself with revolutionary groups due to his belief in having the right and capability to defend himself. Hampton was with Malcolm X when he started the Organization of Afro-American Unity in the Audubon Ballroom. He traveled to Africa with Cedric Sandiford, Nana Imhotep Gary Byrd and Dr. Barbara Justice Muhammad for the Kemron Investigation.
He was a familiar sight in his jumpsuits & sea shelled headband. As a Stationary Engineer at several Board of Ed. schools, he was often spotted racing by in one of his signature cars or heard from blocks away on his Harley Davidson motorcycle. After his retirement, he enjoyed dividing his time between broadcasts at WBAI, volunteering his audio visual skills for important causes, traveling and keeping in touch with family and close friends.
Up until his final days, Bro. Rookard was an active warrior in the struggle for African Liberation and human rights. On May 27, 2010, Hampton was called home to rest.
Hampton’s only sister Margaret preceded him in passing. He also leaves to mourn: his son Antonio, daughter Antoinette and their mother Mildred, daughter Vicky, niece Donzia, cousins Dorothy, Thomasina, Celess, Margaret, and Lil Thomasina. He also leaves behind a legacy of four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Hampton and his words of wisdom will be missed by his many close friends and the love of anyone who was fortunate to meet him and listen to the words that he enjoyed sharing.