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Earl “Butch” Graves Jr. is currently the President and CEO of Black Enterprise, the magazine that his father, Earl Graves Sr. founded in 1970. Butch Graves took a slight detour in professional sports before dialing into the business world.

Graves was born in 1962 and raised in the same Brooklyn borough as his father. He attended Yale University and was a four-year captain of the men’s basketball team. Graves still holds the record as the team’s highest scorer and is the third highest scorer in Ivy League basketball history for the men’s division.

Upon leaving Yale in 1984, Graves was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers, playing briefly for the Milwaukee Bucks and the Cleveland Cavaliers before entering Harvard University to obtain his MBA degree. In 1988, Graves joined the family business and rose to President and COO in 1998. His current title as CEO came in 2006.

In 1995, Graves made headlines after New York Metro-North Police officers in search of a Black suspect. Metro-North police issued a public apology, and took out a series of ads in three major New York newspapers to illustrate the gravity of the gaffe.

Like his father, Graves is a strong advocate for the development of Black business. He also kept true to his basketball roots, coaching the game at the AAU level over the years.

Graves turns 55 today.

PHOTO: Black Enterprise




Little Known Black History Fact: Earl ‘Butch’ Graves, Jr.  was originally published on