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Carrie Meek: Legend, Trailblazer and Icon

Updated: Dec 16, 2021

Carrie P. Meek, April 29, 1926 - November 28, 2021


Carrie P. Meek lived a life of service to others and to her community. She had a soft but powerful voice and being gifted as an orator, she blended hometown humor with logic. She possessed a practical intelligence that was disarming to say the least. Serving as the 1st Black American representing Florida in the US Congress, since reconstruction she fought for economic opportunities for all people, and in Florida fought tirelessly for justice for Haitian Americans. She carried a big stick, but maintained a soft impassioned voice.


Some called her a trailblazer, a voice for the people, a mother, an educator, a force seeking justice for all. Carrie P. Meek greatly impacted the lives of many others including that of Audrey Edmonson, former Miami-Dade County Commissioner for District 3 and long time friend of Carrie Meek. Edmonson had this to say about the former Congresswoman “I can only hope for years to come, the life of Carrie P. Meek will stand for someone who fought to change the conditions for those who could not help themselves. She was remarkably approachable and was never far from her constituents as you could see her in the grocery store, the pharmacy and around the community. Carrie Meek was truly a servant of the people and she left a remarkable trail for others to follow.”

“She was never afraid to use her voice to speak out against inequality or to fight for the disenfranchised and the vulnerable — and her towering legacy will continue to shape our community and the nation for generations to come, '' said Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, Miami-Dade County Mayor.

Carrie Meek represented the best of what Miami- Dade has to offer. She mentored many trailblazing women in government and industry and her footprint is unmistakable. Carrrie’s daughter Lucia Meek Raiford carries on her legacy at the Carrie Meek Foundation in Opa Locka and throughout all the community service facilities that bear the name of Carrie P. Meek.

 


10 things to know about Carrie Meek

  • Carrie Mae Pittman was the youngest of 12 children born in Tallahassee.

  • She was the daughter of a sharecropper and granddaughter of a slave.

  • Carrie Meek graduated from Florida A&M University (then known as Florida A&M College for Negroes) in 1946. At FAMU, she lettered in track and field.

  • After graduation from FAMU, Meek enrolled in the University of Michigan and received her Master of Science degree in 1948.

  • Meek was hired as a teacher at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida.

  • Following that, she taught at her alma mater, Florida A&M University.

  • Meek moved to Miami in 1961 to serve as special assistant to the vice president of Miami-Dade Community College and pushed for integration. As a result of her intervention the college was desegregated in 1963.

  • In 1992, Meek became the first black member of Congress from Florida since the Post-Civil war Reconstruction Era.

  • Upon taking office, Meek helped her district recover from the 1992 Hurricane Andrew's devastation, helping pull in $100 million in federal assistance to rebuild Dade County.

  • Led legislation rz3 through Congress to improve Dade County's transit system, airport, and seaport; to construct a new family and childcare center in northern Dade County

  • BONUS: Carrie P. Meek was a proud member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority


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