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Ms. Graves was instrumental in helping her husband launch Black Enterprise magazine in 1970, and held every major position at the company, including editorial director, circulation director and chief financial officer. Since its founding, Black Enterprise has grown to become a trusted source of business, investing and wealth-building information for African-Americans with a paid circulation of 500,000 and a readership of approximately four million.
“My mother was a steadfast and loving partner and counselor to my father; his quiet source of strength and inspiration,” said her son, Earl Graves Jr., the president and CEO of Black Enterprise, in a statement. “She served as mentor and guide to several generations of employees, managers and professionals. Above all, she genuinely cared for every member of the Black Enterprise family, and held a special passion for children and young people in particular.”
Also among Ms. Graves’ contributions to the Black Enterprise legacy is the Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit, the premier networking event and conference for women executives of color, which she co-founded.
“We are all simply heartbroken by the passing of Barbara Graves. She was a longtime friend of mine and supporter of not only Black Enterprise but black media in general. The consummate mother and wife, Barbara raised an incredible family of businessmen as well as supported her husband, Earl, in growing an important multimedia brand that elevated African-American business, wealth and entrepreneurship. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family. She will be missed,” Debra L. Lee, Chairman & CEO of BET Networks said.
Mrs. Graves is survived by her husband of over fifty years, her three sons and eight grandchildren.