Who Is Gizelle Bryant's Dad Curtis Graves?
The #RHOP father's work in the Civil Rights Movement is only the beginning.
Gizelle Bryant said she was a "proud daughter" during Sunday night's Season 1 finale of The Real Housewives of Potomac — as she should be. That remark came after Gizelle saw her father Curtis Graves recognized for his "distinguished public service career" in Congress on July 28, 2015. "I would like to thank Curtis M. Graves for his lifelong career of public service and for his many contributions to our nation," Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen said about Curtis, whose legacy is now part of the Congressional Record.
For Curtis to be recognized in the Congressional Record, he must be a pretty big deal, right? Well, that's an understatement.
Curtis was a major force in the beginnings of the Civil Rights Movement who worked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., as Gizelle explained during Sunday night's episode. He served in the Texas House of Representatives from 1967 to 1973, the first African American to do so since 1899, according to an August 2015 Texas Monthly profile on Curtis. He took on issues ranging from gun control to criminal justice reform, Congressman Van Hollen said during his speech about Curtis in Congress.
After his tenure, Curtis left Texas for Washington, D.C. in 1974 where he began a 30-year career working for NASA in the agency's Academic Affairs Division and ultimately as its Director for Civil Affairs.
An avid photographer all of his life, Curtis took up fine art photography full-time after he retired from NASA in 2003. He has an online gallery of some of his work, and he has also held exhibitions around the country.
But one thing Gizelle's dad hasn't done is watch much reality TV. So when she told him that she would be one of the cast members of RHOP, she said he had his reservations, but he supported her decision to do the show. "My dad was just kind of like, 'I trust you. I know that you're smart, and I know that you're not gonna do anything that's going to haunt you for the rest of your life. So if you feel like it's a good fit at this point in time in your life, then go for it,'" Gizelle told The Daily Dish last January.
After only a couple episodes of the season had aired, Gizelle said that Curtis and her ex-husband, prominent pastor and civil rights activist Jamal Bryant, were pleased with the show and proud that she's apart of a record-breaking series. "They're happy for me," Gizelle said. "That just shows that regardless, at the end of the day, they support me and love me."
With a daughter like Gizelle, we can see why.
Check out some throwback pics of Gizelle and the other RHOP ladies, below.