Mary T. Washington
|Known for||First African-American woman to be a certified public accountant in America|
|From||United States of America|
|Birth||21 April 1906|
|Death||2 July 2005 (aged 99 years)|
Mary T. Washington was the first African-American woman to be a certified public accountant in the United States. Mary Thelma Morrison was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi on April 21, 1906, to Daisy and William Morrison. Her father was a carpenter, and her mother passed when she was only 6 years old. Following her mother’s death, Washington was raised by her grandparents in Chicago. She excelled as a math student at Wendell Phillips High School. She earned her bachelor's degree in business from Northwestern University in 1941. During college, she worked at Chicago's Douglas National Bank. After graduation, she moved into a new position at Binga State Bank, one of the city's prominent black-owned businesses in the 1920s.
In 1939 she founded Washington, Pittman & McKeever, an accounting and management consulting firm providing businesses and individuals with audit, accounting, tax and advisory services. Through her time at the firm, she trained a generation of younger black CPAs.
Her marriage to Seymour Washington ended in divorce. She later married Donald Melvin Wylie. She had a daughter named Barbara with Seymour, and a son named Donald Wylie Jr with Donald. In addition, Mary and Donald adopted other children.
Washington died July 2, 2005 at age 99, in Chicago. She was survived by her 5 children and her grandchildren. The Illinois CPA Society and the CPA Endowment Fund of Illinois established the Mary T. Washington Wylie Opportunity Fund in her name to support diversity in the accounting profession.
The City of Chicago has officially declared September 30, Mary T. Washington Wylie Day throughout the city. The official proclamation, signed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, coincides with the display of light post banners in Chicago’s Loop (LaSalle St. from Jackson to Adams and on Jackson Blvd. from Wells to Clark) provided by the Illinois CPA Society, to mark the occasion and honor a true pioneer in the accounting profession.