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Earl Graves Sr. Photo: Getty Images.
Earl Graves Sr. Photo: Getty Images.

Black publishing pioneer, Earl Graves, dies at age 85

He was the founder of the nation’s first black-owned magazine, Black Enterprise in 1970.

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When black media legend Earl Graves reflected on the founding of his magazine, Black Enterprise, in his New York Times best-selling book, How to Succeed in Business Without Being White, he wrote it 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,” wrote Graves.

In 1970, when he founded Black Enterprise, it was the first black-owned magazine in the country’s history. With it, he would go on to accomplish his goal tenfold. 

Over 50 years, the magazine publishing company was grown by Graves into 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,” wrote current Black Enterprise editor-in-chief Derek Dingle in Graves’ obituary.

After a long battle with Alzheimer’s Graves passed away on the night of April 6.

His son confirmed his passing on Twitter:

In addition to the magazine, Black Enterprise also created many events to award and empower black entrepreneurs and spawned two nationally-syndicated television shows: Our World with Black Enterprise, hosted by Marc Lamont Hill and Women of Power.

Graves himself was awarded for his work the 1999 Springarn Medal from the NAACP, its most prestigious civil rights award, and is a member of the U.S. Business Hall of Fame.

Beyond the magazine, he also owned the largest minority-owned PepsiCo franchise in Washington D.C.

He is survived by three children.

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