Earl G. Graves, Sr. is one of my heroes. Graves founded Black Enterprise magazine more than 40 years ago. Through the years that entity has evolved into a brand that includes a website, books, events and television shows. Not only has he highlighted our economic triumphs and victories. He and his publication have gracefully left pebbles to help lead us to the economic promise land. His magazine provides a enduring contribution to black history. His publication creates an archive of our economic growth and business progress through its rankings of the nation's top 100 black businesses. Graves also wrote the best-selling book, How to Succeed in Business Without Being White.
He is a distinguished honoree of the History Makers program. Here is their writeup about Mr. Graves.
Earl G. Graves was raised in the Bedford Stuyvesant section of New York, where he learned hard work and perseverance from his parents, Earl Goodwin and Winnaford Colette Sealy Graves. After receiving a B.A. in economics from Morgan State University he served two years in the Army, followed by a three-year stint as Senator Robert F. Kennedy's administrative assistant. After Kennedy's assassination, Graves entered the business arena, where he was to realize unprecedented success.
Since founding Black Enterprise in 1970, Graves has been named one of the ten most outstanding minority businessmen in the country by the president of the United States and received the National Award of Excellence in recognition of his achievements in minority business enterprise. Black Enterprise is recognized as the definitive resource for African American business professionals, entrepreneurs and policymakers in the public and private sectors.
Graves is president and CEO of Earl G. Graves, Ltd., parent corporation of the Earl G. Graves Publishing Company, which publishes Black Enterprise. He has also served as chairman and CEO of Pepsi-Cola of Washington, D.C., the largest minority-controlled Pepsi-Cola franchise in the country. Since selling the franchise back to the parent company in 1998, Graves has continued to remain active with the company.
In 1999, he received the NAACP Spingarn Medal, the highest achievement award for African Americans. He was named one of the Top 100 Business News Luminaries of the Century and his book How to Succeed in Business Without Being White was listed as a business bestseller. A staunch advocate of higher education, Graves is committed to advancing business education and opportunities for our nation's youth. He has also been recognized for his business leadership and community service by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the city of New York, and the National Conference for Community and Justice, among others. In addition, Morgan State University renamed its business school in his honor at the twenty-fifth anniversary party for Black Enterprise.
He resides in New York with his wife Barbara. They have three sons, all in the family business.