Monday, April 13, 2020

Visionary Founder Of Black Enterprise Magazine Earl Graves, Sr. Dies At 85 Leaving A Trailblazing Entrepreneurial Legacy

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Visionary Entrepreneur And Media Mogul Earl Graves Who Championed Blacks In Business And Wealth Creation Dies At 85
Earl Graves Senior in 2004.  Picture Credit Click Here

By Kamau Austin, Publisher Scoop Publications

It recently has been widely reported in major media like CNN, The New York Times, and many others outlets legendary innovative pioneer Earl Graves Sr., and Founder of Black Enterprise Magazine, has died at 85 years of age.  Reportedly he had a long battle with Alzheimer's disease.

Graves, according to a share on social media from his son Earl "Butch" Graves, Jr., died Monday.  According to, Grave's son shared "At 9:22pm 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!"

Before the Black consumer market was considered a desirable consumer market Graves saw the need to teach Blacks to be successful business people.  Later in the development of his Black Enterprise magazine he also steered the editorial to include robust informative content on wealth creation.  He was the logical outgrowth of the Civil Rights Movement and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King's concern to shift to economic empowerment in the Black community

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Earl Graves Sr., was born in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up in the historic Bedford-Stuyvesant section (AKA Bed-Stuy) of the Bourough.  He later graduated from Morgan State University with a BA in Economics and also showed promising entrepreneurial sales skills on campus.

Graves had an admirable career in the military.  He graduated from ROTC school and later served in the Army's Special Forces. He worked with diverse Presidential campaigns including those of Lyndon B. Johnson, Robert Kennedy, and was appointed by George W. Bush to serve on the Presidential Commission for the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

It was after Mr. Graves worked with the SBA's Board Of Advisors, that he was motivated to address providing business acumen and insights to Black people.  He started an annual newsletter to inform Black Americans on how to run a business.

According to Wikipedia "SBA's advisory board and his direct work with the agency would lead Grave to his belief in the need for advice to businesses in economic development and urban affairs, which convinced him to create an annual newsletter that would chronicle issues relevant to black business people, and raise awareness of the importance of black consumer power. At the suggestion of then SBA Director Howard J. Samuels, Graves would expand the concept of a newsletter into a full-fledged magazine."

Black Enterprise Magazine, has become the classic iconic black business magazine generating hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue over the years sometimes annually.  It still has no peers today.  It has chronicled and showcased promising Black businesses, economic issues, and wealth creation strategies for about 50 years.

Graves had numerous positions on major corporations like Federated Department Stores, Daimler AG, AMR Corporation, and he was the CEO to Pepsi Cola bottling franchise in Washington D.C.  His company now boasts a state of the art website, 2 television shows, major business events and mobile apps.  

Earl Graves, has inspired myself and I'm sure countless other Black entrepreneurs.  I'm thankful his staff featured my 1st business with a center page article back in 1989 called "Marketing The Motherland."

Today the Black consumer market is in demand with over 1.5 trillion dollars yearly in collective income.  We have over 2.7 million Black businesses.  Black women are becoming entrepreneurs faster than any other demographic in the US.  All these trends no doubt were inspired by Earl Graves and his trailblazing magazine Black Enterprise. 

Writer's Bio:  Writer Kamau Austin, is the award winning Publisher of the Black News Scoop and Scoop Publications, a division of AMS Digital Media.  He is a long time activist, entrepreneur, and author.  Austin has been featured in Black Enterprise, Fortune Magazine Small Business, CNN, radio, cable, and countless newspapers and blog sites.     

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Posted by community events coordinator, Nzinga Lonstein Austin, is a prolific blogger who writes on the entertainment industry and issues for people with developmental and physical challenges.

She is presently in high school looking to have a career in video, film, and media. You can see more of her entertainment writing on Lonstein Movies.

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