Throwback Thursday: Rep. Greg Meeks Was a Young Rebel With a Cause

The New York lawmaker knows some things about how to start a revolution.

Posted: 06/26/2014 11:00 AM EDT

Looking at this picture from Rep. Gregory Meeks’s senior year book, it’s evident that the future New York congressman (pictured far right) was a sartorialist even as a teenager in the early '70s. Fast forward to a new century and as regulars on Capitol Hill can attest, on occasion he sometimes even out-dappers the most dapper of House members, the iconic and often inimitable Charlie Rangel.

But rebel?

Back then, Meeks and his posse, also pictured here, formed an organization they called SMOKE. He can’t quite remember what the acronym stands for, but does recall how they took over the student government to ensure that the African-American students at Manhattan’s Julia Richmond High School, who came from poor communities as they did, had a voice and were heard.

Their efforts weren’t limited to revolt. They also put on school plays in which they sometimes "flipped the script" and Meeks says that the yearbook features another image of him in white face. With the help of a great and constructive student adviser the group handpicked, he adds, “we were able to coordinate various events in a peaceful manner."

Then in college, Meeks says with an air of mystery, he headed up Adelphi University’s Black Student Union, “and we did some things."

We’ll just leave it at that.

Follow Joyce Jones on Twitter: @BETpolitichick.

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(Photo: Courtesy of Rep. Gregory Meeks)

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