Politics

Carrie Meek, pioneering Black former congresswoman, dies at 95

Alcee Hastings and Corrine Brown joined Meek in January 1993 as the primary Black Floridians to serve in Congress since 1876 because the state’s districts had been redrawn by the federal courts in accordance with the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

On her first day in Congress, Meek mirrored that whereas her grandmother, a slave on a Georgia farm, might by no means have dreamed of such an accomplishment, her dad and mom advised her that something was doable.

“They at all times stated the day would come after we can be acknowledged for our character,” she advised The Related Press in an interview that day.

In Congress, Meek championed affirmative motion, financial alternatives for the poor and efforts to bolster democracy in and ease immigration restrictions on Haiti, the birthplace of a lot of her constituents.

She additionally was identified for her liberal opinions, folksy but highly effective oratory and colourful Republican bashing.

“The final Republican that did one thing for me was Abraham Lincoln,” she advised the state delegation to the 1996 Democratic Conference in Chicago.

Meek joined her son Kendrick, a former state trooper and state senator, in a 2000 sit-in at then-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s workplace to protest an finish to affirmative motion insurance policies. She had lengthy argued in favor of such insurance policies, since incomes her grasp’s diploma from the College of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1948. On the time, Blacks weren’t admitted to graduate faculties in Florida.

Meek determined to not search a sixth time period in 2002. Her son Kendrick succeeded in successful her closely Democratic district, a seat he held for 4 phrases earlier than an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate in 2010.

After leaving Congress, Carrie Meek returned to Miami and created a basis to work on schooling and housing points. She was additionally criticized for a few of her enterprise dealings.

She lobbied for a biotech park that was deliberate for Miami’s impoverished Liberty Metropolis neighborhood however by no means materialized. County authorities ultimately began a prison investigation, and the park’s developer was arrested in October 2009 on expenses that he stole almost $1 million from the mission.

Congressional information confirmed that Meek was paid whereas her son sought hundreds of thousands of federal {dollars} for the mission. Meek stated she was paid as a marketing consultant, and each mom and son denied their efforts had been linked.

Earlier than coming into politics, Meek labored as a instructor and administrator at Miami-Dade School.

She was elected to the Florida Home in 1978, succeeding pioneer Black legislator Gwen Cherry, who had been killed in an auto accident. She turned one of many first African People and the primary Black girl to serve within the Florida Senate because the 1800s

Carrie Pittman was born to Willie and Carrie Pittman in Tallahassee on April 29, 1926, and was the youngest of 12 kids. Her father labored in close by fields as a sharecropper and her mom took in laundry from white households.

She graduated from Florida A&M College in 1946 with a level in biology and bodily schooling. The college named its constructing for Black historical past archives in her honor in 2007. She was a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority.

She accepted a place at Bethune Cookman School as an teacher and have become the establishment’s first feminine basketball coach. In 1958, she returned to Florida A&M as an teacher in well being and bodily schooling. She held that place till 1961.

Meek continued her instructing profession at Miami Dade Group School as the primary Black professor, affiliate dean, and assistant to the Vice President from 1961 to 1979.

Then, she started her trailblazing political profession, representing Florida’s seventeenth Congressional District as a Democratic Florida State Home Consultant.

In Congress, Meek was a member of the highly effective Appropriations Committee and labored to safe $100 million in assist to rebuild Dade County as the world recovered from Hurricane Andrew.

She retired in 2002 and shifted her focus to the Carrie Meek Basis, which she based in November 2001, to supply the Miami-Dade neighborhood with much-needed assets, alternatives, and jobs. Meek spearheaded the Basis’s day by day operations till 2015 when she stepped down resulting from declining well being.

Meek is survived by her kids Lucia Davis-Raiford, Sheila Davis Kinui and Kendrick B. Meek, seven grandchildren, 5 great-grandchildren and a number of nieces and nephews.

Funeral preparations had been pending.

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