The lessons should be obvious: America cannot survive, progress, and prosper without guaranteed freedom and utilization of all of its talents in the race, class, gender, religious, and ethnic categories. Nowhere is this more evident than in exploration of the African American certified public accountants whose stories are indelibly moving. Greater business accounting responsibilities came with the boom period of American capitalism and business expansion accompanying the Civil War.
Diversity in Graduate Education: Looking at — and Beyond — Admissions
British accountants migrating to America to take advantage of new job opportunities brought procedures and practices from across the Atlantic that would shape the professionalization of certified public accountants CPAs. Passing an examination and meeting experience requirements paved the way for a career as a CPA, but in a nation of de jure segregation, blacks were likely to encounter racist obstacles in both areas.
Hence, Hammond notes that even by the end of the twentieth century, African Americans numbered less than one percent of the , CPAs in the nation. Moreover, the biggest accountancy firms did not hire black CPAs until the s, and even in the s one found few African American CPAs [End Page ] in the firms and fewer at the partnership level in major white-owned firms.
A History of Determination
Only the profession of airline pilots ranks lower than that of CPA firms with regard to the percentage of African Americans employed. The corollary to this sad story of racism and loss or underutilization of real talent in the United States is the story of the victims themselves, heretofore hidden from plain view. From John W. Cromwell, Jr.
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The individual stories allow us to see more than intestinal fortitude: they also display a levelheaded discretion and a confidence that time and righteousness were on their side. The black CPAs included in this book braved hostile teachers and crude examiners. One potential employer, upon seeing the talented black CPA before him, just broke down: "'You are a Negro.
He then said, 'you are a Negro, I cannot give you a job"' p. The black CPAs slowly managed to penetrate their profession; several of them established first-rate business schools and accounting departments at historically black colleges and universities such as Howard University and Texas Southern University and, on one occasion, provided the expertise to prevent a witchhunt into the financial recordkeeping and credibility of Martin Luther King, Jr.
The American Accounting Association and the Journal of American Accounting accepted the status quo in supporting segregation and were slow after the s to encourage integration and the hiring of black CPAs, despite their many accomplishments and the recognition that most were better qualified and educated than the average white CPA. Embed Size px.
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Related A White-Collar Profession: African American Certified Public Accountants since 1921
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