James P. Coleman
|Senior Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit|
May 31, 1981 - January 31, 1984
|Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit|
|John Robert Brown|
|John Cooper Godbold|
|Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit|
July 26, 1965 - May 31, 1981
|Lyndon B. Johnson|
|Benjamin Franklin Cameron|
|E. Grady Jolly|
|52nd Governor of Mississippi|
January 17, 1956 - January 19, 1960
|Hugh L. White|
|33rd Mississippi Attorney General|
January 22, 1952 - January 17, 1956
|Governor||Hugh L. White|
|Greek L. Rice|
|Joseph Turner Patterson|
James Plemon Coleman
January 9, 1914
|Died||September 28, 1991 (aged 77)|
|Education||George Washington University Law School (LL.B.)|
James Plemon "J.P." Coleman (January 9, 1914 - September 28, 1991) was the 52nd Governor of Mississippi and a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Born on January 9, 1914, in Ackerman, Mississippi, Coleman received a Bachelor of Laws in 1939 from the George Washington University Law School. He served upon the staff of Mississippi Congressman Aaron L. Ford. He entered private practice in Ackerman from 1939 to 1946. He concurrently served as district attorney for the Fifth Judicial District of Mississippi from 1940 to 1946. He was a Judge of the Mississippi Circuit Court for the Fifth Judicial District from 1947 to 1950. He was a Justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court in 1950. He was Mississippi Attorney General from 1950 to 1956. He was the 52nd Governor of Mississippi from 1956 to 1960. He was a Member of the Mississippi House of Representatives from 1960 to 1964. He was in private practice in Choctaw County, Mississippi from 1960 to 1965.
During his service with Congressman Ford, in Washington, D.C., Coleman made a name for himself by challenging and defeating another young southern congressional staffer, future President Lyndon B. Johnson, for Speaker of the Little Congress, a body that Johnson had dominated before Coleman's challenge. Coleman and Johnson became lifelong friends.
Coleman became the Governor of Mississippi in 1956 as a moderate candidate in a campaign where he promised to uphold segregation. As Governor, he befriended Democratic presidential candidate, Senator John F. Kennedy, but set up the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission. When Clennon Washington King, Jr. attempted to integrate the University of Mississippi, Coleman went to Oxford to prevent Mr. King's matriculation and fulfill his promise of segregation of all schools. He objected to being called a moderate by his critics, preferring to characterize himself as a 'successful segregationist'.
In his subsequent campaign for governor in 1963, Coleman lost the Democratic nomination to Paul B. Johnson, Jr., a son of a former governor. Segregationist Johnson painted Coleman as a racial moderate and friend of the Kennedy administration. Paul Johnson's campaign staff charged that during the 1960 presidential campaign Coleman had allowed Kennedy to sleep in the Governor's Mansion in the bed formerly used by the late Governor and United States Senator Theodore Bilbo. Johnson went on to defeat the Democrat-turned-Republican Rubel Phillips in the 1963 general election, which presented Mississippi voters with a new-at-the-time opportunity to choose between candidates of different parties.
Coleman was nominated by President Lyndon B. Johnson on June 22, 1965, to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit vacated by Judge Benjamin Franklin Cameron. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on July 26, 1965, and received his commission on July 26, 1965. He served as Chief Judge from 1979 to 1981. He assumed senior status on May 31, 1981. His service terminated on January 31, 1984, due to his retirement.
After his retirement from the federal bench, Coleman returned to the private practice of law in Choctaw County and also farmed until he suffered a severe stroke on December 11, 1990. He died on September 28, 1991, in Ackerman.
Coleman's grandson, Josiah D. Coleman is a Justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court.
Greek L. Rice
| Attorney General of Mississippi
Joseph Turner Patterson
Hugh L. White
| Governor of Mississippi
Benjamin Franklin Cameron
E. Grady Jolly
John Robert Brown
John Cooper Godbold