Book of the Month
The Hero Among Us: Memoirs of an FBI Witness Hunter
By Jim Ingram with James L. Dickerson / Introduction by former Mississippi Governor William F. Winter
Crime-Fighting FBI Agent was America’s Top Expert on Terrorism
Jim Ingram is to the FBI what Elliot Ness was to the Treasury Department—a larger-than-life symbol of American justice, a Klan-busting crime fighter who was involved with some of the highest profile FBI cases of the 1960s and 1970s.
In his memoir Ingram provides insider information about those cases.
Jim Ingram was the primary source in journalist Jack Nelson’s 1993 bestselling book, “Terror in the Night: The Klan’s Campaign Against the Jews,” which focused on the FBI’s infiltration of the Klan in an effort to protect Mississippi Jews.
Jim Ingram passed away in August 2009 of cancer, but worked on this memoir with co-author James L. Dickerson right up until his death. Following his death, the FBI supplied Dickerson with more than 1,400 pages of previously classified documents to supplement Ingram’s recollections.
Interestingly, after nearly 30 years with the FBI, Ingram was brought out of retirement in the 2000s as a cold-case investigator of Mississippi civil rights-era murders, casting him into his fifth decade of crime fighting. Among the historic cases worked by Ingram:
- The assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
- The “Mississippi Burning” civil rights murders.
- The assassination of Martin Luther King.
- The murder of Federal Judge John H. Woods, known by friends and detractors as “Maximum John.” The convicted hit man was actor Woody Harrelson’s father, Charles Harrelson.
- The bombing of Beth Israel Temple (Jackson, Mississippi).
- The FBI counterintelligence operation known as COINTELPRO.
- The FALN bombings by Puerto Rican separatists.
In this memoir, Jim Ingram provides insider information on the above high-profile cases and others, along with a personal perspective on his nearly 30-year career of law enforcement. During that career, he headed up the FBI offices in New York and Chicago, and was in charge of the violent crimes civil rights desk in Mississippi in the 1960s, and served in the 1970s as deputy assistant FBI director in Washington, DC. In the later years of his career, he became the FBI’s top expert on terrorism. This book discloses, for the first time, how he secretly trained U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force personnel on terrorism.
After his retirement from the FBI, Ingram served as Public Safety Commissioner for the State of Mississippi, which put him in charge of the Highway Patrol, an agency that had been heavily infiltrated by the KKK while he was head of the FBI civil rights desk in Mississippi. Appointed by Governor Kirk Fordice, a conservative Republican with a penchant for abrasiveness, Ingram became good friends with the man despite their political differences.
About the Editor/Author
Journalist James L. Dickerson has published numerous biographies and histories, including “Devil’s Sanctuary: An Eyewitness History of Mississippi Hate Crimes,” “Dixie’s Dirty Secret,” “Just for a Thrill: Lil Hardin Armstrong, First Lady of Jazz,” and “Yellow Fever: A Deadly Disease Poised to Kill Again.” An award-winning journalist, he has worked as a staff writer for three Pulitzer Prize-winning newspapers, The Commercial Appeal (Memphis), the Clarion-Ledger/Jackson Daily News (Jackson, MS) and the Delta Democrat-Times (Greenville, MS). He is a leading writer of civil rights history and organized crime in the South. His writing is listed in the FBI’s Bibliography Related to Crime Scene Interpretation with Emphases in Forensic Geotaphonomic and Forensic Archaeological Field Techniques, compiled by Special Agent Michael J. Hochrein.