Troy Ingram

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Troy Ingram (born c. 1919 - died 1973) was a miner, auto mechanic, Ku Klux Klan leader, terrorist bomber and volunteer fireman.

Early life

Ingram was the son of Sam Ingram, an Alabama Fuel and Coal Company miner at the Overton mine. The teenaged Ingram watched fascinated as owner Charles DeBardeleben explained the explosive charges he had buried in the road leading to his own house at the camp as a means of deterring union organizers. Nevertheless, Ingram's father and many other workers did sign union cards that summer and DeBardeleben reacted by shutting down the camp and evicting the workers and their families. Soon later Troy and another miner's son allowed the United Mine Workers' lawyers to file a lawsuit against the company on their behalf. He himself returned to Overton to interview other families, but was picked up by company agents, beaten and driven out of town in a rainstorm. The adventure was related in an issue of James Allen's Southern Worker

Klan activities

Despite his achievements as a labor hero, Ingram became friends with fellow miner Robert Chambliss and became involved in the Klan during the period when it focused on anti-Communist and anti-Union activities on behalf of the District's "Big Mules". He worked his own mine near Overton, employing dynamite and mule-drawn mine cars and also repaired automobiles, using his yard as a small-scale junkyard for parts.

Later, when the Klan's primary interest was enforcing segregation, Ingram assumed a leadership role. He was elected Exalted Cyclops of the Alabama Knights, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc. after it split from the Atlanta-based U. S. Klans in 1955. He resigned in 1957 after the abduction and mutilation of Judge Aaron.

Later he joined the Ensley White Citizens Council and the Cahaba Heights Volunteer Fire Department. He was present at the Greyhound Bus Terminal just before a Freedom Riders bus pulled in on May 14, 1961 (but claimed to have left before the brutal beatings given out that afternoon). By the end of that year he was active with the United Klans of America, which Knights of Alabama founder Robert Shelton led from the Anglo-Saxon Club in Tuscaloosa. He attended many meetings of the organization's most powerful klavern, the Eastview 13 in Woodlawn.

In the fall of 1962 Ingram traveled around Mississippi drumming up protest against the admission of James Meredith to the University of Mississippi. He was a member of the Klan-related United Americans for Conservative Government which supported George Wallace's political campaigns in Alabama.


Because of their experience with dynamite, Ingram and Chambliss are assumed to have provided technical assistance in numerous bombings carried out by Klan operatives. In 1963 Ingram was implicated in the bombing of Arthur Shores' home, apparently having assisted Ronnie Tidwell in constructing the bomb in his garage.

Soon afterward, on August 25, 1963, Ingram helped organize a split away from Eastview 13. He brought a group of Klan veterans and National States Rights Party members to a meeting underneath U. S. Highway 280's Cahaba River Bridge. He was elected Exalted Cyclops of the coalition, dubbed the Cahaba River Group. That group never won an official sanction from Shelton's Klan, but it did boast the most experienced and dedicated bombers from Eastview 13, Bobby Frank Cherry, Thomas Blanton, Sr, Thomas Blanton, Jr, and Robert Chambliss. It was members of that group that carried out the fatal bombing at 16th Street Baptist Church on September 15, using a more advanced bomb with an acid detonator rather than a lit fuse. Ingram and Chambliss were both involved in the creation of the bomb, but Ingram did not participate directly in planting it. He may have been nearby when it exploded, however, as a witness described a man with a limp being rushed from the scene by a man fitting the younger Blanton's description. Later that day he attended a rally of the West End Parents for Private Schools at the Dixie Speedway in Midfield.

On September 25 a pair of bombs were detonated on Center Street South in Titusville. Apparently the first blast was meant to attract a crowd and the larger shrapnel bomb was meant to kill. Miraculously no one was hurt, though a large crater was left in the street, a utility pole was sheared and shrapnel sprayed into nearby walls. Among the debris found by the FBI were fragments of fishing tackle and auto parts matching materials at Ingram's garage. Ingram failed polygraph tests administered by the FBI, implicating himself in several bombing incidents.

Ingram died in 1973, suffering a heart attack while driving a fire engine for the Cahaba Heights Volunteer Fire Department. He was never prosecuted for any of his terrorist activities. He was survived by his wife, Mary.


  • Southern Worker (February 1936)
  • McWhorter, Diane (2001) Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama, The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution. New York, New York: Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0743226488