Gravely grew up in Reidsville NC where his father and grandfather were contractors. Frequently they got design requests and during high school, Gravely drew up simple plans which the company would then build. In 1955, he entered Architecture at Howard University, finishing in 1959.
After eight months in the military he returned to NC and worked for his father until a position came open with the Greensboro architecture firm Loewenstein Atkinson. They were the most progressive in the state for hiring minorities. When Gravely joined, Ed Loewenstein already had two black architects, Willie Edward Jenkins and William Gupple. Gravely took Gupple’s position when the latter left for New York in 1961.
Interview by Kate Walker