Black History Month has been filled with celebrations of the contributions made by our profession’s pioneering Black CPAs.
- The year-long 2021 Black CPA Centennial was launched on Feb. 1 with tributes to the roles that the nation’s first Black CPAs made to pave the way toward greater diversity and inclusion throughout the profession.
- The MACPA’s Board of Directors passed its own resolution in honor of the tireless efforts made by Maryland’s first Black CPAs, who served as mentors and role models for those who followed in their footsteps.
Now, as Black History Month draws to a close, we want to pay tribute to a few others whose contributions loom large throughout the profession. They include:
- The Marylanders who are among our nation’s first 100 Black CPAs — Benjamin L. King Sr. (No. 48, who joined the profession in 1957), Arthur M. Reynolds Sr. (No. 50, 1958), Emsar Bradford (No. 59, 1960), Broadus Sawyer (No. 60, 1960), Carroll D. Lee (No. 67, 1961), and Jerome R. Broadus (No. 82, 1963).
- The two Washington D.C. residents who are part of the same list — William Porter (No. 68, 1961) and Bert W. Smith Jr. (No. 83, 1963).
- The first Black Maryland woman to become a CPA — Christanta Ricks-Johns, who joined the profession in 1971 and taught at Morgan State University for 27 years.
- The first Black CPA to chair the MACPA’s Board of Directors — Graylin Smith, in 2002-03.
- The first Black woman to chair the MACPA and AICPA Boards of Directors — Kimberly Ellison-Taylor, who served as MACPA chair in 2010-11 and AICPA chair in 2016-17.
- Current MACPA Chair Avonette Blanding, whose term runs through June 2021.
And though Black History Month is coming to a close, our celebration of their careers and accomplishments will continue. The Black CPA Centennial will run through the rest of the year, and the MACPA will continue to share the stories of many of our first Black CPAs throughout the rest of 2021 … and beyond.
At the same time, we will take their lessons, experiences, and examples and use them to build a more diverse, equal, and inclusive profession for the next generations of CPAs.
Let’s keep looking back … so we can move forward.