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Carrie Meek, pioneering Miami Congresswoman, dies at 95

Kendrick, Leslie and Carrie Meek
Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Fla., center, accompanied by his mother Carrie Meek, right, and his wife Leslie, left, arrive are for early voting Monday, Oct. 18, 2010, in Miami. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

Former U.S. Congressman Carrie Pittman Week, the first black person to represent Florida in Congress, dead at 95.

Meeks was an advocate for South Florida’s Black communities, she was dedicated to helping Haitian immigrants strive for a better life.

She died at her home in Miami after battling a serious illness, her family said.

The granddaughter of slaves, Meek served as Florida state representative, state senator and later became a powerful congresswoman in 1992 at the age of 66.

She won the nomination for the Democratic Party and ran unopposed in the general election.

Meek spoke out against the discrimination of Afro-Cubans by Cuba’s communist government.

Meek was born April 29, 1926 in segregated Tallahassee. Meeks parents were sharecroppers. She was raised to respect education to the highest degree, and to never give up on learning.

She went on to earn a B.S. in Biology and Physical Education from Florida A&M University in 1946.

Meeks broke all gender stereotypes by continuing her education at the University of Michigan and earning a master’s in physical education and public health.

She is survived by her three children and their spouses, a host of grandchildren, family and friends.

Services will be announced at a later date.