John W. Cromwell Jr., the son of a former slave, overcame many obstacles in his life to earn his place in history as the nation’s first Black CPA in 1921. His story is an inspiration and lesson in tenacity for future generations of Black accountants.
With 2021 marking the 100th anniversary of the first Black licensed CPA in the United States, a yearlong campaign kicked off to recognize the nation’s Black CPAs and encourage greater progress in diversity, inclusion, and equity in the CPA profession. Resources and information related to the Black CPA Centennial commemoration, including ways for individuals and organizations to participate, are available at BlackCPACentennial.cpa. The celebration is a collaborative effort of the American Institute of CPAs, Diverse Organization of Firms, Illinois CPA Society, National Association of Black Accountants, and National Society of Black CPAs.