A loving, in-person tribute and celebration of the life of Earl G. Graves Sr., the iconic founder of BLACK ENTERPRISE, is set to take place on the campus of his beloved alma mater, Morgan State University in Baltimore, home of the Earl Graves School of Business and Management.
Family, friends, leaders, and luminaries—as well as current and former employees of BLACK ENTERPRISE—will gather at the Morgan State University Student Center to honor the life and contributions of the visionary entrepreneur, corporate board pioneer, activist, and philanthropist, on Wednesday, Apr. 6, 2022, the second anniversary of his passing in 2020 at 85, according to a press release.
“Anticipation for this celebration of our founder and my father has been building for more than a year, and rightly so,” says BLACK ENTERPRISE CEO Earl “Butch” Graves, Jr.
“Of course, he was a personal hero to me, my brothers and his eight grandchildren, as well as a devoted husband and partner of our late matriarch, Barbara Graves. However, beyond that, our founder significantly impacted literally millions of others, including generations of Black entrepreneurs, corporate executives, leaders across all professions, and the loyal subscribers of BLACK ENTERPRISE magazine.””
Open to the public, the celebration will be immediately followed by a reception at the Graves School of Business and Management.
The tribute will also be available for viewing via livestream and BLACK ENTERPRISE’s LinkedIn, Facebook.com/BlackEnterprise, YouTube, and Twitter.com/BlackEnterprise social media channels or at BlackEnterprise.com
Confirmed speakers for the event include BLACK ENTERPRISE CEO Earl “Butch” Graves, Jr.; Senior Pastor, Grace Baptist Church of Mount Vernon (NY), Rev. Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson; National Action Network Founder Rev. Al Sharpton; Morgan State University President Dr. David K. Wilson; BLACK ENTERPRISE Executive VP and Chief Content Officer Derek T. Dingle; 41st Grand Basileus, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Dr. David E. Marion; U.S. Congressman, Chairman of the Morgan State University Board of Regents, Kweisi Mfume; Chairman of the Board, Citizens Trust Bank, Ray M. Robinson; President, Enterprise Strategic Partnerships, American Express, Glenda McNeal; Former Macy’s Inc. Executive Chairman Terry Lundgren; RW2 Enterprises CEO and former Aetna Inc. Chairman and CEO Ron Williams; Georgia Power President, Chairman & CEO Chris Womack; and Black Executive CEO Alliance Founder Jerri DeVard.
The program will also include performances by the Morgan State University Choir and a presentation of military honors by Lt. General R. Scott Dingle, The Army Surgeon General and Commanding General, USA Medical Command.
More than a year in the planning, due to the moratorium on live gatherings necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the celebration of Graves’ life marks a high point of the ongoing recognition of the 50th anniversary of his publishing of the first issue of BLACK ENTERPRISE magazine in August 1970.
Among other elements marking the launch of the magazine is a yearlong multimedia content hub, BE: Celebrating 50 Years of Excellence, featuring exclusive video tributes from CEOs, corporate leaders, entrepreneurs, and others from all walks of life who were impacted by Graves. Birthed as a single-magazine publishing company, BLACK ENTERPRISE is now the nation’s No. 1 Black digital media brand, with more than 10 million monthly unique visitors, and the leading producer of live and virtual events focused on entrepreneurship and leadership, and professional development.