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Rep. Maxine Waters Statement on the Death of Earl G. Graves, Sr.

April 7, 2020
Press Release

LOS ANGELES – Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43), Chair of the House Financial Services Committee, issued a statement on the death of the founder of Black Enterprise, Earl G. Graves, Sr.:  

“Today, we mourn the passing of a visionary leader and titan of business, entrepreneurship, and media: Earl G. Graves, Sr.

“I am fortunate to have known Earl Graves, Sr. for many years, and I consider he and his late wife, Barbara Kydd Graves, dear friends. Together they founded the first and most successful magazine on African American entrepreneurship, Black Enterprise, which absolutely leveled the playing field for men and women of color in business. It is because of Black Enterprise that our community has had the ability to impart wisdom and share resources about wealth building, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship in this country, and we owe a debt of gratitude to Earl and Barbara for having the foresight and willingness to found and lead such an important publication that has thrived for 50 years.

“However, Earl Graves’ willingness to serve and uplift his community was not limited to his magazine and multimedia company. He wrote the playbook for African American entrepreneurs and executives in his book, ‘How to Succeed in Business Without Being White.’ He leveraged his position on the boards of many large corporations to fight for increased contracting opportunities for minority owned businesses. He advocated for increased diversity in the c-suite. He uplifted the work of other African American entrepreneurs, and he was always willing to shine a light on the leadership of African American elected officials whose legislative work would otherwise have gone unrecognized.

“I am so grateful for the leadership and vision of Earl Graves, Sr, and I extend my deepest condolences to his three sons, Earl Jr., Johnny, and Michael, his grandchildren, family, and friends. As the first African American and woman to chair the House Committee on Financial Services, my leadership of this committee, and my ongoing legislative efforts to fight for diversity and inclusion, increased wealth building opportunities, and economic empowerment for people of color and disadvantaged communities, are an ode to his legacy and example.”

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