Retired Navy Captain Timika Lindsay and her daughter Elise Lindsay are the first African-American mother and daughter to graduate from the United States Naval Academy in the academy’s 177-year history.
Elise became interested in attending the academy after seeing her mother at her last duty station at the academy, where her mother served as the chief diversity officer. At the time, Elise was a student at Elizabeth Seton High School in Bladensburg, Maryland, and her exposure to midshipman life and living on the yard also inspired her to attend the academy. What’s more, her mother took her to Japan in 2015, where she also became familiar with fleet life, seeing ships and people going to work in their uniforms.
On Friday when Elise graduated, she and her mother made history as the first African-American mother and daughter to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy. But being a captain’s daughter came with challenges for her at the academy. “Sometimes you don’t want to be Captain Lindsay’s daughter, you want to be midshipman Lindsay. That was really hard,” said Elise.
Thanks to the relationship she built with mentors and mentees, she was able to make a name for herself, she said. Elise will be going back to Japan where she will be stationed on the USS America.
“If you would’ve asked me if this was a possibility seven years ago, I would’ve said no way in the world,” Timika said. Her son, Eric Jr., will also graduate from the academy in 2025.