I’m sure you can tell by all the photos I have posted around my social networks that I had the most wonderfully exciting time at the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference last week in Chicago. But there was one very dark cloud that descended over me, it was when I was informed that Barbara Kydd Graves had departed this life. Mrs. Graves was the loving and devoted wife of Earl Graves, Sr., Founder of Black Enterprise.
I had not expected the death of a woman that I had never laid eyes on to affect me so deeply. But then again, how could it NOT??!! This was the woman that stood beside one of the greatest Black men in modern times (in my humble opinion). This incredible woman gave birth to her own legacy both literally and figuratively. I have had occasion to meet Earl Graves, Sr. and I was always amazed at how this stern man softened and humbled when he spoke of his wife. Though I am in the Relationship business, I’m still moved when a man speaks in such tones about his beloved.
While sitting at the BE 100 awards, in the midst of all the excitement, my mind kept drifting back to the loss of my own Mother back in 2002. That memory somehow deepened the invisible connection that I felt with the Graves family. Only one who has experienced such a loss could truly appreciate the gravity of the situation. Then there was the fact that when the deepest sorrow imaginable had been visited upon them, the Graves’ had chosen to send kind words and well wishes to the conference attendees.
Mrs. Graves not only stood shoulder to shoulder with her husband helping the run the 40 year old media empire, she also groomed her sons Butch and Michael to be part of the family business. The First Lady of Black Business was also the co-founder of the Women Of Power Summit. For more than 4 decades this calm quiet woman used her under-stated presence to quietly influence generations of successful business folks. It is with a heavy heart that I extend deepest condolences from the Black Love Forum Family to the Black Enterprise Family, Barbara Kydd Graves impacted us all, and her absence is deeply felt.
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