On Monday evening (April 6), pioneer in publishing and business Earl Graves Sr., died at the age of 85 from a battle with Alzheimer’s, Essence reports. Graves founded the widely-successful Black Enterprise publication that pinned a spotlight on economic trends, businesses, and entrepreneurship within the black community.
On Twitter, his son and CEO of the publication, Earl Graves Jr., honored his father as a hero. “I loved and admired this giant of a man, and am blessed to be his namesake,” Graves Jr. wrote. “LOVE YOU DAD!” In 2006, Graves Jr. became the CEO of the publication.
In 1970, Graves Sr. founded Black Enterprise, using a loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA) to bring it to fruition. “The time was ripe for a magazine devoted to economic development in the African American community,” Graves wrote in his bestseller How To Succeed In Business Without Being White. “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 Brooklyn, New York, Graves Sr. managed to capitalize on his ambitious and determined spirit to make an impact on his community. Through his collegiate pursuits at his alma mater Morgan State University (which named its school of business and management after him), Graves was able to put his business acumen on display for the nation’s top leaders.
He was named one of the 50 most influential African Americans in the United States’ corporate sector by Fortune Magazine in 2002. Five years later, he was inducted into the U.S. Business Hall of Fame.
At 9:22pm this evening, April 6, my Father and Hero Earl Graves Sr., the Founder of @blackenterprise, 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! pic.twitter.com/UoerizfX8a
— Earl Butch Graves Jr (@EarlButchGraves) April 7, 2020
It is with profound sadness that we share news of the passing of Black Enterprise Founder Earl G. Graves Sr. earlier this evening, April 6, at the age of 85. We will evermore celebrate his life and legacy, in this, our 50th Anniversary Year, and beyond. pic.twitter.com/N7aall81gb
— Black Enterprise (@blackenterprise) April 7, 2020