Carrie Meek is a woman of many firsts. Born in 1926, the grand-daughter of sharecroppers, Meek grew up in Tallahassee, Florida, and attended Florida A & M University before heading to Michigan for her master’s degree, something not available to African Americans at Florida colleges at the time. She returned to Florida and taught at Bethune-Cookman and FAMU, later moving to Miami, where she became a community activist and pushed for the desegregation of Miami-Dade Community College in 1963.
In 1978, Meek was elected to the Florida House of Representatives, and, by 1983, she became the first black woman to serve in the Florida Senate. Almost a decade later, in 1992, she became the first African American to represent Florida in the U.S. House of Representatives since RECONSTRUCTION. Again, 1992. In office, Meek dealt with rebuilding her Miami district in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew, economic development, health care, education, and housing. After a contentious 2000 election, she refused to meet with President George W. Bush, because she felt her district was not fairly represented in the recount. Congresswoman Meek was succeeded by her son Kendrick Meek in 2003.