Earl G. Graves, Sr., the influential founder of Black Enterprise magazine, has died at age 85.
Monday on Twitter, Graves’ son and current Black Enterprise CEO Earl “Butch” Graves Jr. announced the news that his father had passed away that night at 9:22 p.m. after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
“I loved and admired this giant of a man, and am blessed to be his namesake. LOVE YOU DAD!,” Graves Jr. wrote.
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
Minutes later, Graves’ trailblazing publication — which ABC News credits as the first black-owned magazine that focused on black entrepreneurs — released a statement on his passing.
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
Launched in 1970, the publication not only shone a spotlight on African-American entrepreneurs, but also gave black business owners the tools to succeed.
Senior vice president and chief content officer Derek T. Dingle says Graves transformed Black Enterprise “from a single-magazine publishing company… to a diversified multimedia business spreading the message of financial empowerment to more than 6 million African Americans through print, digital, broadcast and live-event platforms.”
In addition to authoring his best-selling 1998 book “How to Succeed in Business Without Being White,” Graves was the CEO of a Pepsi Cola bottling franchise in Washington D.C. and held board and director memberships with companies such as AMR Corporation, Daimler AG, Federated Department Stores, and Rohm and Haas.
He was also a member of the Board of Trustees at Howard University.
Graves shared three sons — including Johnny and Michael Graves — with his wife of 37 years, Barbara Kydd Graves, who passed away in 2012.
He will be missed.