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Black Americans Who Paved the Way
There once was a time when Black American men and women had to break through racial barriers to pursue careers as certified public accountants. Theresa Hammond, a professor of accounting at the College of Business at San Francisco State University, documented the stories of those paved the way for Black Americans to become a CPA in her book, "A White-Collar Profession: African American Certified Public Accountants since 1921."At the time Hammond published the book, in 2002, it was reported that less than 1 percent of CPAs were black. What you'll find in 'A White-Collar Profession' are interviews with approximately 100 groundbreaking black CPAs who shared the challenges they had to face to work in the profession. Here are 11 of those trailblazing CPAs who paved the way for black CPAs.
First up - Richard Austin - Licensed in 1941
Richard Austin graduated from his large Detroit high school at the top of his class. While a teenager, he had developed a bookkeeping practice with primarily black and Jewish clients. One of his professors helped him meet the experience requirement, and he went on to have a successful CPA firm in the city. He was elected Wayne County Auditor in 1966, narrowly lost a race that would have made him Detroits first black mayor in 1969, and was elected as Michigans Secretary of State in 1971. Re-elected four times, he served in the role for over two decades.