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2009 Alvin Ailey Opening Night Gala Performance

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Earl Graves, Sr., the founder and publisher of Black Enterprise has died. He was 85.

Graves’ son, Earl “Butch” Graves, Jr. confirmed the news in posts on his social media accounts, saying his dad died after a long battle with Alzheimer’s.

“I loved and admired this giant of a man, and am blessed to be his namesake,” Graves tweeted.

Graves, Sr. founded Black Enterprise in 1970 as a resource for business and investing advice for African Americans. In his award-winning bestseller, How To Succeed In Business Without Being White, Graves stated his purpose for founding Black Enterprise was to show the African American community how to thrive in corporate America.

“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.”

Outside of founding Black Enterprise, Graves was involved in several other businesses. At one point, he operated Pepsi-Cola distribution in Washington, DC. Graves was a strong advocate for African American inclusion in corporate America. As such, he was one of few African-Americans to serve on the boards of major corporations such as American Airlines, Daimler Chrysler, and Rohm & Hass and Federated Department Stores (Macy’s).

Black Enterprise posted on his passing via their social media accounts.

“We will evermore celebrate his life and legacy, in this, our 50th Anniversary Year, and beyond,” Black Enterprise captioned in their post.


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