From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

May, James Shelby, Sr.

(born: 1934  -  died: 1993) 

James Shelby May, Sr. was born in Louisville, KY, the son of Shelby and Arlee Taylor May. He was a graduate of Cornell University and Yale Law School.

A retired Marine Corps colonel, May had been a Marine Corps judge advocate. He served in many legal capacities, including as a felony trial judge and  appellate judge. In 1981, May became the first African American appointed to the Navy-Marine Corps court of Military Review, the highest criminal appellate court of the U.S. Navy Department.

After his retirement in 1989, May was an assistant professor at the University of Baltimore Law School.

For more see James Shelby May in "Obituaries" of the Washington Post, 2/22/1993, Metro section, p. C4; and Who's Who Among African Americans, 1985-2006.

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NKAA Source: The Washington post (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Who's who among African Americans

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“May, James Shelby, Sr.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 14, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-05-03 16:10:11