James J. P. McShane

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James McShane, left, escorting Meredith, center, to class at the University of Mississippi.

James Joseph Patrick McShane (March 17, 1909 - December 23, 1968) was the former chief United States Marshal during part of the Civil Rights Movement.[1]


He was born in 1909 in New York City.

As head of the Executive Office for U.S. Marshals, he supervised federal agents during the Freedom Rides of 1961, but is most known for his role in leading the federal agents who escorted James Meredith, the first African American student at University of Mississippi in 1962.[2]

In November of 1962 McShane was indicted by a Lafayette County Mississippi grand jury on charges that he "did incite a riot" in relation to his decision to fire tear gas into crowds of violent protesters during the Ole Miss riot of 1962. McShane subsequently gave himself up for arrest, was processed, and released. The US District Court found that McShane acted under orders and statutory authority and "had reasonable cause to believe ... that the use of tear gas ... was a proper measure to be taken". The court granted summary judgment in favor of McShane. [3]

Before being a U.S. Marshal, he worked for the Senate's select McClellan Committee, was chief of security and the personal bodyguard for President John F. Kennedy and a New York City Police Department homicide detective.[1]

He died on December 23, 1968, from pneumonia in Alexandria, Virginia.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "James McShane, Chief Marshal Who Escorted Meredith, Is Dead. Entered U. of Mississippi in 1962 With First Negro After Resistance by the State". New York Times. 1968-12-24.
  2. ^ "The Personal Papers of James J.P. McShane (1909-1968)". John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. Retrieved 2009-04-30.
  3. ^ Petition of James P. McSHANE for a Writ of Habeas Corpus (United States District Court N. D. Mississippi, W. D September 16, 1964). Text