Barbara Graves, an elementary school teacher and graduate of Brooklyn College, met her husband on a blind date while he was in the Army.
"She was very attractive, very bright, and not impressed at all by my, you know, Army outfit on," Earl Graves said in a 2006 interview with civil rights leader Julian Bond that was done for The HistoryMakers, a video archive of African American oral histories.
Barbara Graves is survived by her husband and their three children. The eldest son, Earl Graves Jr., is now the president and CEO of Black Enterprise. The other two sons, Johnny Graves and Michael Graves, have also worked as executives at Black Enterprise.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.