Black Enterprise magazine president, writer, and filmmaker to give talks at URI to celebrate Black History Month

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Events are free, open to entire URI community

KINGSTON, R.I. – Jan. 15, 2014 – Earl “Butch” Graves Jr., chief executive officer of the pioneering Black Enterprise magazine, will speak at the University of Rhode Island next month to celebrate Black History Month.

Graves will talk about African Americans and economic development Feb. 3 at 6 p.m. in the Galanti Lounge at URI’s Robert L. Carothers Library on the Kingston campus. The talk is free and open to the public.

Graves is a son of Earl G. Graves Sr., the founder and publisher of Black Enterprise and one of the most prominent African American businessmen in the country.

As president and CEO of Black Enterprise, the younger Graves is responsible for strategic planning of the company, which includes magazine publishing, television production, digital media, and business and lifestyle events.

Graves joined his father’s company in 1988 after earning his master’s degree in business administration from Harvard University. After holding several positions in marketing and advertising, he was appointed chief operating officer in 1998 and named CEO in 2006.

Under his guidance, the magazine has expanded readership to more than 4 million, revitalized its multimedia website and iPad edition, and launched broadcasts of “Our World with Black Enterprise” and the “Black Enterprise Business Report” into television syndication.

Graves received his bachelor’s degree in economics from Yale University in 1984. As a four-year starter and captain of the Yale basketball team, he became the university’s all-time leading scorer and finished his college basketball career as the second leading scorer in Ivy League history. Graves was drafted in the third round by the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and had a brief professional basketball career with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

URI is also hosting Anne C. Bailey, a writer and professor of Africana Studies at Binghamton University, the State University of New York. Bailey will talk about African Americans and higher education Feb. 17 at 3 p.m., also in the Galanti Lounge.

Bailey’s research centers on the history of the Atlantic slave trade and its impact on Africa and its worldwide diaspora. Her recent book, African Voices of the Atlantic Slave Trade: Beyond the Silence and Shame, looks at memories of the slave trade from the African perspective.

Born in Jamaica, Bailey’s work has been influenced by living in Paris, London, and West Africa. After immigrating to New York City, where she attended high school, Bailey studied English and French at Harvard University and obtained her doctorate in African history and African diaspora studies from the University of Pennsylvania. Bailey will sign copies of her new book after the talk.

The other speaker is filmmaker Michael Costa, who will show a screening of his film, “Proud to be Cape Verdean: A Look at Cape Verdeans in the Golden State.” The film will be shown Feb. 19 at 3 p.m., also in the Galanti Lounge. A question-and-answer session will follow.

The film captures the essence of the Cape Verdean community in California through interviews, photographs, and oral histories and shows how Cape Verdeans in America strive to maintain ties to their robust culture.

Also, a panel of URI professors will talk about African Americans and the law Feb. 24 at 5 p.m., also in the Galanti Lounge, and URI students will perform African American spirituals and read slave narratives Feb. 25 at 8 p.m. at the Multicultural Center.

For more information, please contact Vanessa Wynder Quainoo, director of the Africana Studies Program at URI, at 401-874-2536 or The program’s website is Africana Studies.

The theme of this year’s Black History Month at URI is “African American Progress in the 21st Century.” All talks and events are free and open to the entire URI community.

“We are very excited about the theme and the opportunity to engage the campus in an important national conversation about African American history and progress,” said Quainoo. “That conversation is an expansive one, embracing the improvement of race relations and ultimately a better quality of life for all people.”

Black History Month is an annual observance in the United States to remember and honor people and events in the African disapora. It is celebrated annually in the United States in February.

Photos above: Earl “Butch” Graves Jr., CEO and president of Black Enterprise magazine; Anne Bailey, professor of Africana Studies at Binghamton University, the State University of New York; and Michael Costa, a filmmaker. Photos courtesy of the speakers.