Why Black Enterprise started listing the largest black-owned business
Earl “Butch” Graves Jr. of Black Enterprise writes about why his father started the list of the largest black-owned businesses in the magazine 45 years ago.
Graves writes, “Rallying our editorial team, he realized some 45 years ago the creation of our inaugural ranking of the nation’s largest black businesses, which today is known as the BE 100s. Until that time, the financial performance of African American firms had not been tracked by the media or government on an annual basis, nor were our entrepreneurial journeys widely chronicled.
“We found that it was equally important to produce an annual barometer of black business as it was to tell the monthly stories of founders who demonstrated tenacity, acumen, and ingenuity to grow their companies — despite racial discrimination and diminished access to capital and business opportunities.
“Most of these companies consistently demonstrated widespread impact. Motown, the nation’s largest black-owned business when our Top 100 list was first introduced in 1973, provided ‘The Sound of America’ with artists such as Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, and Marvin Gaye. Parks Sausage was an American breakfast staple in both black and white households.”
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