Carrie Meek, trailblazing Black former congresswoman, dies at 95

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(CNN)Former Rep. Carrie Meek, who broke barriers passim her winding governmental vocation arsenic the girl of a sharecropper and granddaughter of a slave, died Sunday successful her Miami home. She was 95.

Meek's decease came aft a "long illness," household spokesperson Adam Sharon said successful a connection describing the precocious Florida Democrat's "trailblazing" beingness and legacy.

Her children Lucia Davis-Raiford, Sheila Davis Kinui, and retired Rep. Kendrick B. Meek of Florida provided a connection astir her bequest to CNN.

    It read: "Carrie Meek was our household matriarch who fulfilled this relation for the full South Florida community. She was a span builder and healer, a unifier with a bequest defined by selfless nationalist service. Forever the educator, the Congresswoman taught america each lessons astir justness and morality. Her attack was rooted successful kindness and humility. Carrie Meek made our nine stronger and much equitable — an result that is an everlasting tribute to our beloved mother. She was guided by her faith, ever inspired by the outpouring of emotion and assemblage support. We humbly inquire for your prayers astatine this time."

      Meek was calved successful Tallahassee, Florida successful 1926, according to her congressional biography. After serving arsenic Miami-Dade Community College's archetypal Black professor, subordinate dean and adjunct to the vice president, Meek bushed retired 12 different candidates erstwhile she ran for the Florida authorities House successful 1978.

        Just 5 years later, she became the archetypal Black pistillate elected to the authorities senate.

        Meek would spell connected to leverage her vocation successful authorities authorities into a palmy US House run successful 1992. Alongside erstwhile Reps. Corrine Brown and Alcee Hastings, Meek joined Congress arsenic 1 of the archetypal Black members elected since the Reconstruction Era.

          For the adjacent decade, she utilized her legislative perch to propulsion a scope of Democratic priorities from migration betterment to economical development. ''We spot showboats and we spot tugboats,'' precocious civilian rights fable Rep. John Lewis said successful 1999 of the antithetic legislative styles successful Congress. ''She's a tugboat. I ne'er privation to beryllium connected the broadside of issues against her.''

          Meek retired successful 2002 and was succeeded by her lad Kendrick, who ran successfully for her House spot and held it for 4 terms.

          Following her legislature career, Meek shifted her absorption to the Carrie Meek Foundation, which worked to supply the Miami-Dade assemblage with jobs and opportunities, according to the connection provided by Sharon. She ran the foundation's operations until 2015 erstwhile "declining health" forced her measurement down.

          News of her decease drew an contiguous outpouring of enactment Sunday evening.

          "My deepest condolences to the Meek family. I had the grant of overlapping successful Congressional work with Carrie Meek," Democratic Rep. Gregory Meeks of New York tweeted. "At her core, she was an pedagogue and I'm thankful for each that I learned from her."

          Democratic Rep. Darren Soto of Florida likewise lauded Meek arsenic a trailblazer, "with a large bosom & overmuch courage."

          "She was a champion of civilian rights, healthcare, education, jobs & housing. She protected our authorities thru Hurricane Andrew & basal closures. We volition strive to travel her astonishing legacy!" helium tweeted.

          GOP Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida called Meek "an icon and invaluable friend."

            "Carrie was a surviving fable and an institution. Her passionateness and condemnation made everyone astir her love, admire, and respect her," helium tweeted. "There is nary uncertainty that Congresswoman Meek's bequest volition permission a lasting imprint for generations to come."

            Meek is survived by her 3 children, 7 grandchildren and 5 large grandchildren.

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