The Honorable Kendrick B. Meek
The son of former Member Carrie P. Meek of Florida, Kendrick B. Meek became the first African American to succeed his mother in Congress. Carrie Meek, elected as one of the first Black Members to represent Florida since Reconstruction, served on the influential Appropriations Committee during her decade-long career in the U.S. House and became a political mentor to her son.
U.S. Representative of Florida (January 3, 2003-January 3, 2011)
In this interview, Kendrick B. Meek reflects on the life and political career of his mother, Carrie P. Meek. He describes how his mother’s community activism and work as an educator led her on a lifelong path of public service. Before winning election to the U.S. House in 1992, Carrie Meek served in the Florida state house and senate for more than a decade. The first Black woman in the Florida senate, Meek’s valuable experience at the state level paved the way for her jump to the national stage.
Kendrick Meek explains how his mother—born in the segregated South—faced discrimination because of her race and considers how that background ultimately shaped her approach to elected office. Meek, who from his childhood was involved in his mother’s campaigns for state office, recalls the personal touch used by his mother and her hands-on style as a U.S. Representative when she traveled to her district every week to meet with constituents at town hall meetings, banquets, and church services. Elected to Congress at the age of 66, Carrie Meek’s impressive legislative resume and skills of persuasion (described in detail by her son) helped her secure a rare Appropriations Committee appointment as a freshman. During the interview Kendrick Meek reveals how his mother’s extensive “life experiences” influenced the issues she chose to highlight in the House, the active role she played in the Congressional Black Caucus and her rapport with the Florida delegation. Meek also discusses how his mother served as a political mentor offering him advice as a budding Florida state legislator and, later, as a U.S. Representative.
This interviewee appears in the following projects: A Century of Women in Congress, and The Long Struggle for Representation: Oral Histories of African-Americans in Congress.
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