Carrie Meek, Trailblazing Champion In Congress And For Black People, Passes Away At 95
Photo By Douglas Graham/Roll Call/Getty Images

It is with a solemn heart to share that Carrie Meek, the first Black Floridian elected to Congress since Reconstruction, has passed away at the age of 95.

A cause of death was not noted, but Meek passed away at her home in Miami surrounded by family, as confirmed by a spokesperson. She had long suffered from an illness, but it will not be what the cherished Congresswoman will be remembered for.

Meek was 66 when she entered congressional politics. She won the 1992 Democratic congressional primary in her Miami district and ran unopposed in the general election. The daughter of a sharecropper and the granddaughter of a slave, Meek was a firebrand advocate and supporter for positive growth and advancement of the area’s Black, immigrant, and poor populations.

“My first priority in Congress is to develop job-producing programs,” she told The Washington Post weeks after her election.

Meek helped guarantee legal rights for Haitian immigrants, passed a measure that ensured Social Security benefits for nannies and day laborers, and secured $100 million in aid to rebuild her northern Miami-Dade district in the wake of Hurricane Andrew.

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An educator and mentor, Meek would work across different institutions throughout Florida, including at Bethune-Cookman University. She became the HBCU’s first female basketball coach. Later, she joined Miami-Dade College, where she became its first Black professor, associate dean, and assistant to the vice president from 1961 to 1979.

Many in-state and around the country knew Carrie Meek to be a regular fixture on the House floor, whether fighting fiercely for her legislative priorities or protesting to increase funding for community resources.

Meek never lost re-election and retired in 2002.

In addition to her children and their spouses, she is survived by a host of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, family, and friends.

Services will be announced at a later date.