Birthdays & Anniversaries

Happy 93rd Birthday to the Honorable Carrie P. Meek!

Carrie P. Meek
Happy Birthday to one of the true living legends of Florida history, the Honorable Carrie P. Meek!


The daughter of Willie and Carrie Pittman, Former Congresswoman Carrie Pittman Davis Meek was born on April 29, 1926, in Tallahassee, Florida. Her grandmother was born a slave in Georgia. Her parents began their married life as sharecroppers. Her father would later become a caretaker and her mother, a laundress and owner of a boarding house. The youngest of 12 children, Meek grew up in segregated Tallahassee, Florida. An honors student and track & field star athlete, she graduated from Florida A&M University (then Florida A&M College) in 1946 with a bachelor's degree in biology and physical education. At that time, Blacks were not allowed to attend graduate school in Florida. The state of Florida paid her graduate school tuition for her to go north to continue her studies. She graduated from the University of Michigan in 1948 with a Master's degree in public health and physical education.

After graduating from the University of Michigan, Meek was hired to teach at Bethune-Cookman University (then Bethune-Cookman College) in Daytona Beach, Florida, and then later at her alma mater, Florida A&M University. She moved to Miami in 1961 where she served as a professor, administrator, and special assistant to the vice president of Miami Dade College, then Miami-Dade Community College. The school was desegregated in 1963. Meek played a central role in pushing for integration. Throughout her years as an educator, Meek was also active in community projects in the Miami area.

Meek was elected Florida state representative in 1978. She would go on to make history as the first Black female elected to the Florida State Senate in 1982. As a state senator, Meek served on the Education Appropriations Subcommittee. Her efforts in the legislature also led to the construction of thousands of affordable rental housing units.

In 1992, Meek was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Florida’s 17th Congressional District. This historic election made her the first black lawmaker to represent Florida in Congress since Reconstruction. Upon taking office, Meek faced the task of helping her district recover from Hurricane Andrew’s devastation. Her efforts helped to provide $100 million in federal assistance to rebuild Dade County. Successfully focusing her attention on issues such as economic development, health care, education and housing, Meek led legislation through Congress to improve Dade County’s transit system, airport and seaport; construct a new family and childcare center in North Dade County; and fund advanced aviation training programs at Miami-Dade Community College. Meek has also emerged as a strong advocate for senior citizens and Haitian immigrants.

Meek has received numerous awards and honors. She is the recipient of an honorary doctor of laws degrees from the Florida A&M University, University of Miami,  Barry University, Florida Atlantic University and Rollins University. The Foundation that carries her name focuses on improving the lives of individuals in Miami-Dade County and throughout the broader community of  Florida.

We are delighted to join family and friends in celebrating the ninety-three years of awesomeness of the legendary Carrie Pittman Davis Meek and wish her many more.

[Biography adapted from The History Makers and U.S. House of Representatives History.]


Happy Birthday, Mr. Charles Mobley!

Posted on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2009

Musician, teacher marks his 77th birthday

Charles Mobley, who has generously given the gift of music to hundreds of Miami-Dade County children and adults, was honored for this 77th birthday on Oct. 10 at the Miami Airport Hilton Hotel.

It was a grand occasion as relatives and longtime friends gathered to share their favorite ``Mr. Mobley'' stories and fellowship.

I first knew of the talented Mobley in 1950, when I was graduating from the sixth to the seventh grade at Liberty City Elementary School and he was hired to play the music for our graduation ceremony. Mobley was just graduating high school at the time.


A Change Has Come...Happy Birthday, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.!

From one of my other blogs-on the black hand side:

Obamanddrkingblack Unless you’re living under a rock, you know that the United States is undergoing a transformation, right now, as I write this. The spirit of unity, respect, inclusiveness and sacrifice will be needed to carry us through the difficult times still to come. The spirit that Barack Obama embodies and spread throughout the world is reminiscent of that of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This is such an exciting time for this country and let me just say, black people, in particular. Barack Obama’s election brings about a sense of pride that is difficult to explain to others. For the first time in my life, black Americans appear to really be included in this country. I have never seen so many black people carrying an American flag who were not in the military or an athlete celebrating an Olympic victory. Now, I’m not trying to get into an argument with anyone because I think the Obama presidency will affect each of differently in some respects, depending upon our personal story, but it is what it is.

When Barack Hussein Obama raises his right hand to take the oath of office as president of the United States tomorrow, it will be because of the tremendous sacrifice and courage of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Of course, it goes without saying that Dr. King’s legendary status was earned because of the support, courage and sacrifice of many like-minded people of all races also.

On this spectacularly awesome celebration of the birth of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 2009, this historic celebration could only be the result of destiny…divine intervention…call it whatever you like.

 I’d like to think Dr. King would also like for us to move beyond the issue of black pride in our first black president and work for the betterment of this nation world. I’d like to think Dr. King would like for us to get more involved in our community consistently, not just on this Day of Service. He’d like for us to become more involved politically and in building our community and raising our next generations.

I’d like to believe that if he could speak to us today, Dr. King would say that he would like for us to be judged by the content of our character and not by our gender, sexual preference, socio-economic status or color of our skin. We are not quite there yet but we have made another step in that direction. Let’s keep on keeping on. Power to the People.

Happy Birthday, Dr. King!


© 2009, on the black hand side,

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Father's Day is June 15

Fathers don't get nearly as much fawning and praise as mothers. Father's Day is rapidly approaching and not nearly enough has been said about the day in honor of men that have stepped up to the plate and served as fathers to their own children or a surrogate father to others.

A special day is not needed to show your father or anyone else how special they are to you but don't forget to give props to all of the great fathers you know on Father's Day!





Over 20,000 Members to Assemble at Nation's Capital for Historic Gathering


Chicago, Illinois – April 28, 2008 - More than 20,000 members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority will converge upon Washington D.C. from July 11-18 for its Centennial international convention. International President, Barbara A. McKinzie will preside over the weeklong event, which is being billed as a celebration of 100 years of sisterhood and service.

In January 2007, the Sorority launched its two-year Centennial Celebration with a series of events at each of the ten regional conferences. This year's convention represents the high point of the festivities, which continue through December 31, 2008.

The biennial convention, which will be held at the Washington Convention Center, represents the culmination of a journey that began on January 15, 1908. It was on that date that nine visionary women at Howard University founded the organization—making it the first sorority of college-educated primarily African-American women. Driven by their commitment to service and sisterhood, Alpha Kappa Alpha has evolved into one of the world's leading service organizations with 200,000 members in 975 chapters worldwide.

The weeklong celebration will be driven by the theme: "Centennial Commitment to Leadership." This is in recognition of the current administration's focus on leadership, which is embraced by the ESP theme—Economics, Service and Partnerships—the programmatic focus of McKinzie's administration. Cultivating leaders is the international president's major thrust, and many of the seminars and forums will center on giving those from within AKA's ranks the tools, knowledge and resources to guide the country and the world into the future.

Paralleling McKinzie's focus on economics, the Sorority will host town hall society forums on entrepreneurship, wealth building and homeownership. Alpha Kappa Alpha will also use the occasion of its business sessions to engage members in an international dialogue on issues that impact members and the communities they serve. Other topics that will dominate the sessions are voter registration and voter education, health, service, bridging the generational gap and the importance of emotional empowerment. The sessions will be moderated by an impressive array of nationally-known leaders.

Other highlights of the convention include:

•    Ecumenical Service presided over by prominent religious leaders

•    ESP Walk for Emotional, Spiritual and Physical Health

Members will walk 1908 steps to the Convention Center as a show of their commitment to raise awareness about the importance of staying fit for health's sake. This is a culminating event for the Synchronized ESP 1908 Global Centennial Walk that takes place on June 28 and where all AKA members in chapters worldwide will walk in sisterly unison.

•    Induction of the following five outstanding women into the Sorority as Honorary members:

Dr. Zoanne Clack – MD, writer and medical consultant for the popular TV show, Grey's Anatomy

Deborah S. Coleman – Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the National Urban League

Dr. Wangari Muta Maathai* – Environmental and political activist from Kenya and the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for "her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace."


C. Vivian Stringer –     Rutgers University Women's Head Basketball Coach

Carol H. Williams – Founder, CEO, President and Chief Creative Officer of the Carol H. Williams Advertising Agency


*Dr. Maathai is unable to attend the convention so a delegation of Alpha Kappa Alpha members will journey to Kenya to perform the induction ceremony.

•    public meeting where the community will become acquainted with Alpha Kappa Alpha, its mission and the reason members are in the District of Columbia

•    presentation of awards to local leaders

•    Unveiling of the Mattel Alpha Kappa Alpha Barbie Doll

•    Performance by Grammy Award winner Patti LaBelle

The high point of the convention will be a Unity March where 30,000 members from the nine predominantly Black Greek fraternities and sororities will link arms as a unified force and march to the Capitol to advance their united agenda. The marchers, all members of the Pan Hellenic Council, will send a "powerful message" to the outgoing administration and a declaration to the next U.S. president about important issues of their constituencies.

While the Sorority will engage in the business of charting its future, the Centennial Convention will primarily be dedicated to celebrating the Sorority's 100-year milestone through an educational documentary that will capture Alpha Kappa Alpha's rich history, tradition and legacy. Most of all, the sisterly bond that has made the Sorority endure for 100 years will be strengthened at this historic gathering.

McKinzie noted that the Convention is the second of two Centennial milestone events. The first was held in January 2008, when over 2,000 members returned to Howard University for the Founders' Day salute to Alpha Chapter, which was Alpha Kappa Alpha's first chapter. The solemn and celebratory event, held on January 15, 2008—on the exact 100-year-milestone day of the Sorority's founding—featured a pilgrimage across the campus to points of historic significance to Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

"Alpha Kappa Alpha is humbled and honored to be returning to Washington, D.C. to celebrate our 100 years of sisterhood and service," said McKinzie. "We will use the occasion to celebrate our illustrious history, renew our commitment to our mission and chart the journey toward our second Centennial."




Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority is America's first Greek-letter organization founded in 1908 by, and for, African-American college women. Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, it is one of the world's leading service organizations. The Sorority's members have made a commitment "to serve all mankind" through a nucleus of more than 200,000 women in over 975 chapters in the United States, the Caribbean, Canada, Germany, Korea, Japan and in the continent of Africa. Barbara A. McKinzie is the 27th International President. Because her term coincides with the 100-year anniversary, she is being hailed as the "Centennial National President." McKinzie's administration is marked by the theme: ESP, which stands for Economics, Service and Partnership. For more information, log on to For an archive of press releases, visit the online pressroom at



Commentary: When MLK died, one man reached across the divide

When one great man was killed, another tried to calm the nation.

Posted on Fri, Apr. 04, 2008

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Martin Luther King stood on a motel balcony facing a row of rundown buildings near downtown Memphis. The door to Room 306 was open behind him. Inside, his best friend, Ralph Abernathy, was putting on cologne, getting ready to go out. In the parking lot below, his aides, Andrew Young, Jesse Jackson and James Orange among them, waited for him. Musician Ben Branch was there, too. ''Ben,'' he said, ''make sure you play Precious Lord,Take My Hand at the meeting tonight. Sing it real pretty.'' Branch promised he would.

At first, Abernathy thought the popping sound was a firecracker. Then he saw King, sprawled on the balcony floor, clutching at his throat where the bullet had ripped it open. Abernathy ran to him. King's mouth quivered. ''I got a message from his eyes,'' Abernathy would later say.

This was 40 years ago, April 4, 1968, a night when civic leaders in Miami implored their people to keep the peace, even as tragedy spiraled into violence across the country. But also, a night when tragedy was elevated into greatness and grace. Most people don't know that part of the story, even now. [More…]