Historic Black Enterprise Magazine Covers: Black Excellence, June 1997

For the 25th Anniversary of the BE 100s, our editors celebrated the “Marathon Men,”

For the 25th Anniversary of the BE 100s, our editors celebrated the “Marathon Men,” CEOs whose companies have been among the nation’s largest black-owned businesses since the list’s inception.

The business legends featured: John H. Johnson, who created Johnson Publishing Co., the parent of Ebony and Jet; Herman Russell, founder of H.J. Russell & Co., the nation’s largest black-owned construction firm to date; Nathan Conyers, CEO of Conyers Riverside Ford (which has since dropped off our list); Ed Lewis and Clarence Smith, founders of Essence Communications, which produced Essence magazine and a variety of products to serve the black women’s market; and BE founder Earl G. Graves, Sr., who remains the nation’s leading champion of black business.

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