Meek Honored in Tallahassee

By Julie Montanaro
November 9, 5:40pm

Former Florida Congresswoman Carrie Meek is in Tallahassee this weekend as fodder for FAMU's annual roast and toast, but given the formidable lawmaker's lengthy list of firsts, it promises to be more "toast" than roast, and the accolades started flowing today.

If they never told Carrie Meek before, they told her today that she convinced a lot of women that they could dream big too.

"You are our hero because you took the lead and were out there doing those things and all of us could see that it was possible," said Florida Supreme Court Justice Peggy Quince.

Meek, now 80 years old and retired, was the first African-American elected to Congress in Florida since Reconstruction.

As she sat amidst some of the most powerful women in Tallahassee, many recounted her spunky and strategic rise through the Florida Legislature and her historic election to Congress in 1992.

"Her arguments were always very strong," remembered former Florida Representative Marjorie Turnbull, "but then there was this wonderful sense of humor, like the time she stood up on the House floor and waved a pirate flag and said, 'Kill it! Kill it! Black Flag dead!’"

Gayle Andrews worked with Meek in the Florida Senate.

"I really don't think people really understood how influential she was in the political world because there were so few blacks in the process. She got so many things done because she was the consummate diplomat."

"I had a lot of firsts," said Meek, "and I'm hoping and praying that they won't look at me as a first, that they won't look at my legacy only as a first, but as an inspiration for others to know they can make it too."

Meek is a Tallahassee native and FAMU grad. She'll be roasted and toasted Friday night at the Civic Center and honored at the FAMU football game on Saturday.