Former US Rep. Carrie Meek Passes Away At 95

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MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — Former U.S. Rep. Carrie Meek, the grandchild of a enslaved and a sharecropper’s girl who became 1 of the archetypal Black Floridians elected to Congress since Reconstruction, passed distant Sunday astatine the property of 95.

She died astatine her location successful Miami aft a agelong illness, household spokesperson Adam Sharon said successful a statement. The household did not specify a origin of death.

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Meek started her legislature vocation astatine an property erstwhile galore radical statesman retirement. She was 66 erstwhile she easy won the 1992 Democratic legislature superior successful her Miami-Dade County district. No Republican opposed her successful the wide election.

Alcee Hastings and Corrine Brown joined Meek successful January 1993 arsenic the archetypal Black Floridians to service successful Congress since 1876 arsenic the state’s districts had been redrawn by the national courts successful accordance with the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

On her archetypal time successful Congress, Meek reflected that portion her grandmother, a enslaved connected a Georgia farm, could ne'er person dreamed of specified an accomplishment, her parents told her that thing was possible.

“They ever said the time would travel erstwhile we would beryllium recognized for our character,” she told The Associated Press successful an interrogation that day.

In Congress, Meek championed affirmative action, economical opportunities for the mediocre and efforts to bolster ideology successful and easiness migration restrictions connected Haiti, the birthplace of galore of her constituents.

She besides was known for her wide opinions, folksy yet almighty oratory and colorful Republican bashing.

“The past Republican that did thing for maine was Abraham Lincoln,” she told the authorities delegation to the 1996 Democratic Convention successful Chicago.

Meek joined her lad Kendrick, a erstwhile authorities trooper and authorities senator, successful a 2000 sit-in astatine then-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s bureau to protestation an extremity to affirmative enactment policies. She had agelong argued successful favour of specified policies, since earning her master’s grade from the University of Michigan successful Ann Arbor successful 1948. At the time, Blacks were not admitted to postgraduate schools successful Florida.

Meek decided not to question a sixth word successful 2002. Her lad Kendrick succeeded successful winning her heavy Democratic district, a spot helium held for 4 presumption earlier an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate successful 2010.

After leaving Congress, Carrie Meek returned to Miami and created a instauration to enactment connected acquisition and lodging issues. She was besides criticized for immoderate of her concern dealings.

She lobbied for a biotech parkland that was planned for Miami’s impoverished Liberty City vicinity but ne'er materialized. County authorities yet started a transgression investigation, and the park’s developer was arrested successful October 2009 connected charges that helium stole astir $1 cardinal from the project.

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Congressional records showed that Meek was paid portion her lad sought millions of national dollars for the project. Meek said she was paid arsenic a consultant, and some parent and lad denied their efforts were linked.

Before entering politics, Meek worked arsenic a teacher and head astatine Miami-Dade College.

She was elected to the Florida House successful 1978, succeeding pioneer Black legislator Gwen Cherry, who had been killed successful an car accident. She became 1 of the archetypal Blacks and the archetypal Black pistillate to service successful the Florida Senate since the 1800s

Carrie Pittman was calved to Willie and Carrie Pittman successful Tallahassee connected April 29, 1926, and was the youngest of 12 children. Her begetter worked successful adjacent fields arsenic a sharecropper and her parent took successful laundry from achromatic families.

She graduated from Florida A&M University successful 1946 with a grade successful biology and carnal education. The assemblage named its gathering for Black past archives successful her grant successful 2007. She was a subordinate of Delta Sigma Theta sorority.

She accepted a presumption astatine Bethune Cookman College arsenic an teacher and became the institution’s archetypal pistillate hoops coach. In 1958, she returned to Florida A&M arsenic an teacher successful wellness and carnal education. She held that presumption until 1961.

Meek continued her teaching vocation astatine Miami Dade Community College arsenic the archetypal Black professor, subordinate dean, and adjunct to the Vice President from 1961 to 1979.

Then, she began her trailblazing governmental career, representing Florida’s 17th Congressional territory arsenic a Democratic Florida State House Representative.

In Congress, Meek was a subordinate of the almighty Appropriations Committee and worked to unafraid $100 cardinal successful assistance to rebuild Dade County arsenic the country recovered from Hurricane Andrew.

She retired successful 2002 and shifted her absorption to the Carrie Meek Foundation, which she founded successful November 2001, to supply the Miami-Dade assemblage with much-needed resources, opportunities, and jobs. Meek spearheaded the Foundation’s regular operations until 2015 erstwhile she stepped down owed to declining health.

Meek is survived by her children Lucia Davis-Raiford, Sheila Davis Kinui and Kendrick B. Meek, 7 grandchildren, 5 great-grandchildren and aggregate nieces and nephews.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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