We are pleased to submit this nomination for Mrs. Peggy Kimbo (pictured above left) to be an honorary member of the USNA Class of 1970. Mrs. Kimbo deserves this recognition for being a significant inspiration and influence upon many members of the Class of 1970 for a significant period of time between June 1966 and June 1970 and beyond.
Many of our classmates remember Mrs. Kimbo (popularly known as Miss Peggy) as a waitress at the Little Campus Inn (now Galway Bay Irish Restaurant and Pub) while we were midshipmen. She started at the Inn in 1947, the year many of us were born. Miss Peggy was quite well known, especially by the Black midshipman of the Class of ’70 during our tenure at USNA. She made it a point to look after them, to support them, and to encourage them during those difficult times. She passed away in 2011 but left a mark on USNA, on Maryland state legislators, and on citizens of Annapolis. She was honored by having a street named after her in 2013…”As a token of civic appreciation, the city of Annapolis has enshrined the memory of Mrs. Kimbo by naming Maryland Avenue ‘Peggy Kimbo Way.’”
We do not recall whether there was a midshipmen sponsorship program while the Class of ’70 attended USNA. Individual sponsorship is prevalent today. Miss Peggy was more than an individual sponsor, however. She was a group sponsor, for all Black midshipmen regardless of class.
Prior to 1966, Mrs. Lillie Mae Chase served as the sponsor for Black midshipmen. As the years progressed, she had more and more midshipmen to watch over, and her house was inviting but small. In November 1966, Mrs. Smith asked Miss Peggy if she would accommodate some of ‘her midshipmen’ for Thanksgiving Dinner. “That was the night we created family with Peggy Kimbo” stated Tony Watson. “We could be there day or night, raid her refrigerator, and she never asked us for anything.” Tony also observed that, “She’s as much a part of the fabric of who we are as any member of our class.”
Leo Williams described Miss Peggy, “as a folk hero in the Annapolis community.” She was well-connected to many people in the town of Annapolis and everyone knew that Miss Peggy took care of her midshipmen. In the book, “Blue & Gold and Black: Racial Integration of the U.S. Naval Academy” by Robert John Schneller and published in 2008, there are numerous stories of our classmates who relate the various influences Peggy Kimbo had on them throughout their time at the Naval Academy and beyond. She definitely made a very positive impact on our Black classmates, as well as many others. So popular was she in Annapolis that the Governor of Maryland, the Honorable Martin O’Malley, delivered the eulogy at her funeral service.
Mrs. Kimbo was born in 1930 and passed away in 2011. She was about five feet tall (but 8 feet in stature). Not only did the city of Annapolis honor her, but the USNA Class of ’58 also made her an honorary class member, which she always treasured.
Because of rich contributions that Mrs. Peggy Kimbo made to the nurturing and positive development of several of our Class, the Class of ’70 should reaffirm her status as an honorary member.
Mrs. Kimbo’s next of kin include her son Larry, and daughters Jaye, Chrystal and Tira (pictured above right with her mothers Honorary Member Plaque).
Leo Williams and Bob Sonnenberg
Updated: February 04, 2021
Curator: Ed Moore