Civil rights activist Curtis Graves, the father of reality TV star Gizelle Bryant, has died at age 84. Bryant, a star of The Real Housewives of Potomac, announced the somber news on her Instagram page.
“Thank you for being the best Dad that a little girl could ever want or need, I will miss you everyday of my life,” she captioned a photo of herself with her father and her three daughters.
Bryant’s daughter Grace went to her Instagram Story to post a photo she took with her grandfather at her high school graduation in June, Bossip reported. The family often raved about the civil rights champion through the years.
“My dad was very involved with the Civil Rights movement years ago in Houston,” Bryant said during an interview with Bravo in 2020. “For my daughters, this is third generation. My dad was working 60 years ago and he worked with Martin Luther King. For me, my second job out of college was working for the national headquarters of the NAACP and now it’s my daughters.”
Graves, who served as a member of the Texas’ House of Representatives, also worked with NASA for 30 years. The trailblazer first served in NASA’s Academic Affairs Division, then worked as the agency’s Director for Civil Affairs. After he retired from NASA in 2003, Graves focused on his love of art, working full time in fine art photography. Congress honored Graves in 2015, recognizing him for his “distinguished public service career.”
“On behalf of the people of Maryland’s Eighth Congressional District, and in anticipation of his seventy-seventh birthday on Aug. 26, 2015, I would like to thank Curtis M. Graves for his lifelong career of public service and for his many contributions to our nation,” said Chris Van Hollen, who was Maryland’s U.S. Senator at the time. “I wish him and his family all the best in the years to come.”
Many of Bryant’s fans were introduced to her father when he appeared on The Real Housewives of Potomac. Bryant said she was inspire to work for the NAACP after college because of her father. The reality TV star also made her father proud when she stepped up as a leader during the global protests sparked by the death of George Floyd in 2020.
“My kids researched and found this peaceful protest that we attended today. It was organized by teenagers and was 2,000-3,000 strong,” Bryant said during a demonstration in 2020 according to Bravo. “My girls made our signs and wanted to be the 1st ones there. You have to talk to your children so that they understand because they too want their voices heard.”