Black CPA Centennial 


Black CPAs Centennial

In 1921, 25 years after the first certified public accountant (CPA) certificate was granted in the U.S., John W. Cromwell, Jr. became the first Black CPA.
He opened a door through which thousands of other Black accountants would eventually pass.

With 2021 marking the 100th anniversary of Cromwell’s landmark achievement, various organizations have come together to announce a year-long national awareness campaign that recognizes Black CPAs in the U.S. and pushes for greater progress to be made in achieving diversity, inclusion, and equity in the CPA profession. Following Cromwell, it took a staggering 45 years for the first 100 Black accountants to be licensed as CPAs. While there has been progress, it has been slow. In 2019, an AICPA survey found, that among all CPA firms that responded to the survey, only 2% of CPAs were Black.

While the organizing partners and other stakeholders will further celebrate in their own ways, they are united in advancing the shared goals of the Black CPA Centennial campaign to “honor, celebrate, and build” upon the rich history and progress Black CPAs have made in the profession.  Activities include a series of articles and videos that bring to life and preserve the inspiring stories of success against the odds of some of the most prominent and trailblazing Black accountants.



Hear their Words

First 100 Black CPAs




  • For Mary Washington Wylie, becoming the nation’s first Black woman to become a CPA was one of many notable achievements in a remarkable life.  
  • The inspirational story of the nation’s first Black CPA kicks off the accounting profession’s Black CPA Centennial celebration. 
  • Accounting Profession Commemorates Centennial of First Black CPA Learn more about our year-long efforts to honor, celebrate, and build upon the progress Black CPAs have made in shaping the accounting profession.  



  • NABA Annual Convention
    June 22-24, 2021 | Virtual | More details to come.
  • Black CPA Centennial Day of Service
    September 24, 2021 | More details to come.

  • NSBCPA Annual Conference

    Fall 2021 | Howard University, Washington D.C. | More details to come.

  • AICPA Diversity Symposium

    October 13-14, 2021 | New Orleans, LA & Virtual | More details to come.

  • Black CPA Centennial Celebration
    November 12, 2021 | Chicago, IL | More details to come. 



The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Diverse Organization of Firms, Illinois CPA Society, National Association of Black Accountants,
and National Society of Black CPAs have come together as organizing partners for the Black CPA Centennial.






Please check back soon for specific ways for individuals and organizations
(state CPA societies, universities, accounting firms, etc.) to participate.


For more information about the Black CPA Centennial efforts, email [email protected].

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