The Business Biography of Earl Graves
Earl Graves wanted to give a voice to his fellow African-Americans.
He fulfilled this dream by establishing Black Enterprise, a publication by and for the community of black professionals who serve to promote their growing community and their achievements in business and in other fields.
Today, Black Enterprise is an institution duly recognized in the United States and supported by many business enterprises, including companies belonging to the Fortune 500 list.
Earl Graves – Conquering the Unconventional
Born to parents Earl Goodwin and Winnaford Colette Sealy Graves, Earl Graves grew up in an average African-American family in Bedford Stuyvesant, New York. He studied Economics at the Morgan State University and then got drafted into the Army to serve for two years.
Graves moved on to become an administrative assistant to then-senator Robert F. Kennedy for three years until the senator was shot dead. It was at this time that Graves realized his interest in putting up his own business which will be able to serve the African-American community.
Graves established Black Enterprise, an aptly named publication that aimed to promote black professionals and entrepreneurs to the entire business community. Graves, however, had difficulty at first in getting the support and patronage of many black professionals who were already successful in their respective ventures.
Graves took this as a challenge and persevered, until finally becoming successful when more than 100,000 business leaders and groups have given their support to Black Enterprise. Twenty-two years after Black Enterprise’s establishment, the magazine became very known and respected on the national level and had earnings reaching $17.5 million.
Graves further advanced his career when he became the president and CEO of Earl G. Graves, Ltd., the umbrella corporation of all of Graves’ business ventures which of course included Black Enterprise. Graves also held other responsibilities outside his own empire, serving as chairman and CEO of Pepsi-Cola of Washington, D.C. (the biggest minority-controlled Pepsi-Cola franchise in the United States at the time).
Graves’ contributions to the business community were highly recognized too, earning him numerous citations and accolades for many of his achievements. Graves was also given the NAACP Spingarn Medal in 1999 (the highest award given to African Americans,) and was named one of the Top 100 Business News Luminaries of the Century.
The Earl G. Graves Quick Bio
Full Name: Earl G. Graves
Birthplace: New York
Company: Black Enterprise Magazine
Industry: Publishing Print Media
Key Success Traits: perseverance, highly motivated, has love and passion for his fellowmen
Graves wrote a book about his success in business entitled ‘How to Succeed in Business Without Being White’. The book was listed as a bestseller in bookstores nationwide.