Monday, April 27, 2009

Earl Gilbert Graves, Sr. (More about business innovation)

Earl Gilbert Graves, Sr.  (born January 9, 1935) is an American author, publisher, entrepreneur, philanthropist and founder of Black Enterprise magazine. He currently resides in Scarsdale, New York.


Graves was born in Brooklyn, New York and grew up in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of New York City. He is a 1958 alumnus of Morgan State University, having received a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics. He is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

From 1965 to 1968, Graves served as an administrative assistant to Senator Robert F. Kennedy. When Rev Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed in Memphis, Graves was assigned by Senator Kennedy to oversee the arrangements for Rev King's body to be brought home.

He is the father of Earl G. Graves, Jr.

Business ventures

Undertook his first job at the age of seven selling boxed Christmas cards for his uncle. His territory was severely limited due to his father's rule that he could only sell to people living on their side of the block.

While at Morgan State, Graves made a name for himself as an entrepreneur. Realizing that there was a big market for flowers during Homecoming Week, he went to two competing local florists and cut deals with both to sell flowers on campus. For a percentage of the profits, the florists provided the flowers while Graves covered the campus.

In 1968, Graves started Earl G. Graves, Ltd. Under that holding company, he began the Earl G. Graves Associates management consulting firm. In 1970, the company's Earl G. Graves Publishing Company division began publishing Black Enterprise magazine. Black Enterprise states as its goal to provide inspiration to African Americans in the business sector. The magazine has 500,000 paid subscribers and over 3 million readers. It has also grossed $53 million in sales.

Black Enterprise Events is another division of Earl G. Graves, Ltd., which coordinates gatherings for the readers of Black Enterprise. The Black Entrepreneurs Conference, Black Enterprise Golf and Tennis Challenge, and Women of Power Summit are a few of the events sponsored by Black Enterprise Events.

Earl Graves, Ltd., also co-owns a private equity fund with Travelers Group called the Black Enterprise/Greenwich Street Corporate Growth Fund. The purpose of the fund is to invest in minority controlled businesses.

From 1990 to 1998, Graves owned the Pepsi Cola bottling franchise in Washington D.C.


Earl G. Graves


Aetna, Incorporated


Sector: HEALTHCARE  /  Health Care Plans


74 Years Old

Earl G. Graves, Sr., age 74, is Chairman of Earl G. Graves, Ltd. (a multimedia company with properties in television, radio, events, digital media and the Internet), having served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer since 1972. He is the Managing Partner of Graves Ventures, Inc. and also the Publisher of Black Enterprise magazine, which he founded in 1970. Additionally, since 1998, Mr. Graves has been a Managing Director of Black Enterprise/Greenwich Street Corporate Growth Partners, L.P. Mr. Graves is a trustee of Howard University, a member of the Executive Board and Executive Committee of the National Office of the Boy Scouts of America and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Aetna Foundation, Inc. and the Black Enterprise B.R.I.D.G.E. Foundation. Mr. Graves has worked to foster the growth of a vibrant African American business community. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller How to Succeed in Business Without Being White and is the recipient of more than 60 honorary degrees and numerous awards for his business success and civic contributions. Mr. Graves was named by Fortune Magazine as one of the 50 most powerful and influential African Americans in corporate America and is the subject of an exhibit in The National Great Blacks in Wax Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. In 1990, Mr. Graves was awarded the 84th NAACP Spingarn Medal, the highest achievement award for African Americans. In 1995, his alma mater, Morgan State University, renamed its business school the Earl G. Graves School of Business and Management. In August 2006, Mr. Graves received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Black Journalists for his contributions to the field of journalism and the publishing industry. In October 2006, civil rights activist and founding Black Enterprise Board of Advisors member Julian Bond interviewed Graves for "An Evening with Earl Graves," a program produced for The HistoryMakers that aired on the PBS network in February 2007. On April 26th 2007, Mr. Graves was inducted into the Junior Achievement Worldwide U.S. Business Hall of Fame for his outstanding contributions to free enterprise and to society.


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