Charles A. Beckett, CPA licensed in 1941 was one of the first African American certified public accountants in Illinois. He was also a community activist who helped found Paul G. Stewart Housing Development; which was named after his friend Paul G. Stewart, CPA.
After receiving his CPA he often stated that it was hell, because there really was no place for black accountants to practice; therefore, he started his own firm, Charles A. Beckett & Co. One of his major clients was Johnson Publishing.
Mr. Beckett used his strong leadership skills and perseverance as a founding member of the Peoples Co-op Credit Union, which opened in the 1930s, and the Peoples Consumer Co-Operative. The credit union helped African Americans get loans and buy homes, and the consumer co-op became the developing organization for the housing.
Which was a very serious need for people, because black people were pretty much out of the picture of home ownership, and the credit union became a way to get people to buy a house.
Mr. Beckett's efforts led to the formation of about 20 housing cooperatives in the Hyde Park-Kenwood area.
The struggle and the number of the Black CPAs has not changed much between the 1940’s and today. NSBCPA has incorporated to address these issues.