Carrie Meek Wiki – Carrie Meek Biography
Former Rep. Carrie Meek, who broke barriers throughout her winding political career as the daughter of a sharecropper and granddaughter of a slave, died Sunday in her Miami home.
Meek’s death came after a “long illness,” family spokesperson Adam Sharon said in a statement describing the late Florida Democrat’s “trailblazing” life and legacy.
Her children Lucia Davis-Raiford, Sheila Davis Kinui, and retired Rep. Kendrick B. Meek of Florida provided a statement about her legacy to CNN.
She was 93 years old.
Carrie Meek Dies
Meek, the grandchild of a slave and a sharecropper’s daughter who became one of the first Black Floridians elected to Congress since Reconstruction, died Sunday. She was 95.
She died at her home in Miami after a long illness, family spokesperson Adam Sharon said in a statement. The family did not specify a cause of death.
Meek started her congressional career at an age when many people began retirement. She was 66 when she easily won the 1992 Democratic congressional primary in her Miami-Dade County district. No Republican opposed her in the general election.
Alcee Hastings and Corrine Brown joined Meek in January 1993 as the first Black Floridians to serve in Congress since 1876 as the federal courts had redrawn the state’s districts following the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
On her first day in Congress, Meek reflected that while her grandmother, a slave on a Georgia farm, could never have dreamed of such an accomplishment, her parents told her that anything was possible.
“They always said the day would come when we would be recognized for our character,” she told The Associated Press in an interview that day.
In Congress, Meek championed affirmative action, economic opportunities for the poor, and efforts to bolster democracy and ease immigration restrictions on Haiti, the birthplace of many of her constituents.
She also was known for her liberal opinions, folksy yet powerful oratory, and colorful Republican bashing.
“The last Republican that did something for me was Abraham Lincoln,” she told the state delegation to the 1996 Democratic Convention 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 office to protest an end to affirmative action policies. She had long argued in favor of such policies since earning her master’s degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1948. At the time, Blacks were not admitted to graduate schools in Florida.
Meek decided not to seek a sixth term in 2002. Her son Kendrick won her heavily Democratic district, a seat he held four times before an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate in 2010.
After leaving Congress, Carrie Meek returned to Miami and created a foundation for education and housing issues. She was also criticized for some of her business dealings.
She lobbied for a biotech park planned for Miami’s impoverished Liberty City neighborhood but never materialized. County authorities eventually started a criminal investigation, and the park’s developer was arrested in October 2009 on charges that he stole nearly $1 million from the project.
Democratic Rep. Darren Soto of Florida similarly lauded Meek as a trailblazer, “with a big heart & much courage.”
“She was a champion of civil rights, healthcare, education, jobs & housing. She protected our state thru Hurricane Andrew & base closures. We will strive to follow her amazing legacy!” he tweeted.
GOP Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida called Meek “an icon and invaluable friend.”
“Carrie was a living legend and an institution. Her passion and conviction made everyone around her love, admire, and respect her,” he tweeted. “There is no doubt that Congresswoman Meek’s legacy will leave a lasting imprint for generations to come.