Black Enterprise founder Earl G. Graves Sr. passed away late Monday evening at the age of 85.
An icon in the print magazine business, Graves created an outlet that has continually highlighted the progression of Black Americans since the 1970s by showcasing our unique issues and achievements in business, entrepreneurship and creativity.
Graves was an innovator and trendsetter to put Black business owners on the front page of a major magazine. This inspired so many businesses to launch. In fact, remember Robert Smith, the billionaire CEO of Vista Equity Partners, who paid off ALL Morehouse College seniors student loans? According to Black Enterprise, he admitted that he switched careers to high finance after reading Black Enterprise.
Graves’ son, the current President and CEO of Black Enterprise, Earl “Butch” Graves Jr. shared the news via social media.
In a tweet that read: “At 9:22 p.m. this evening, April 6, my Father and Hero Earl Graves Sr., the Founder of Black Enterprise, passed away quietly after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. I loved and admired this giant of a man, and am blessed to be his namesake. LOVE YOU DAD!”
Graves’ passion, influence and reach in business extended into the mainstream of corporate America. One of the few African Americans to serve on the boards of major corporations such as American Airlines, Daimler Chrysler, Rohm & Hass and Federated Department Stores (Macy’s).
In his bestselling book, “How To Succeed In Business Without Being White,” Graves shared his purpose for founding Black Enterprise in words that all of Black America could and did agree with: “The time was ripe for a magazine devoted to economic development in the African American community. The publication was committed to the task of educating, inspiring and uplifting its readers. My goal was to show them how to thrive professionally, economically and as proactive, empowered citizens.”
Born in 1935, Graves graduated from Morgan State University and served two years as an officer in the Army. He held jobs in law enforcement and real estate. In 1965, he joined the staff of U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy as his…