JAMES P. COLEMAN, the fifty-first governor of Mississippi, was born in Ackerman, Mississippi on January 9, 1914. His education was attained at the University of Mississippi, and at George Washington University, where he earned a law degree in 1939. Coleman first entered public service as the district attorney of the Fifth Judicial District. He served as circuit judge of the Fifth District from 1946 to 1950, was the attorney general of Mississippi from 1950 to 1956 and served as justice of the Mississippi State Supreme Court in 1950. He also served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1940 and 1956 and was a presidential elector for Mississippi in 1944. Coleman next secured the Democratic gubernatorial nomination and was elected governor by a popular vote in November 1955. He was sworn into office on January 17, 1956. During his tenure, a tax analysis was initiated; a harbor and river improvement program was supported; the state sovereignty commission was formed; industry within the state was promoted; and schools continued to be segregated. After completing his term, Coleman left office on January 19, 1960. He continued to stay politically active, serving as a member of the Mississippi House of Representatives, a position he held from 1960 to 1965. He also was judge of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals from 1965 to 1984, serving as chief judge from 1979 to 1981. Governor James P. Coleman, who authored Choctaw County Chronicles; a History of Choctaw County Mississippi, 1830-1973, passed away on September 29, 1991. He was buried in the Enon Cemetery in Ackerman, Mississippi.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.