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Home | BusinessMakers | Bert Mitchell
Color: Blue
Food: Jamaican Food; Curried Goat
Quote: N/A
Season: Winter
Vacation Destination: Carribean
Kingston, Jamaica
Interview Description:

Biography |

Interview Date: 6/29/2018

Accountant Bert Mitchell was born on April 12, 1938 in Kingston, Jamaica to Edith Green Mitchell and Joseph Mitchell. He grew up on his family’s farm in Jamaica, and excelled as a straight-A student at Kingston Technical High School. In 1958, Mitchell immigrated with his parents and six siblings to New York City. There, he worked as a full-time clerk at a local Teamster labor union while taking night classes at Baruch College, CUNY. Mitchell earned his B.A. degree in business administration in 1963.

Mitchell began his career in accounting as the first African American CPA at J.K. Lasser & Company in 1963. In 1965, Mitchell became the CFO of Intra-American Life Corporation, a life insurance company founded by civil rights leader and lawyer Clarence B. Jones. Mitchell began working with the Ford Foundation in 1966. While there, he earned his M.B.A. degree at Baruch College in 1968; and the following year, he conducted a survey of African Americans CPAs. Also, in 1969, Mitchell became a partner at Lucas, Tucker & Company, the oldest African American owned CPA firm in the United States and remained there until 1972 when he started an independent accounting firm with James L. Tatum, Jr. Mitchell then partnered with Robert P. Titus to found Mitchell & Titus LLP later that year. Serving as chairman and CEO of the accounting firm, Mitchell worked with the NAACP, the Dance Theatre of Harlem, the Jackie Robinson Foundation and the A. Philip Randolph Institute. To expand their business, Mitchell & Titus LLP entered joint venture agreements with major accounting firms like Peat Marwick and Ernst & Young LLP. They also acquired other minority firms such as Stewart, Benjamin & Brown and Frye Williams & Company. After serving as CEO of Mitchell & Titus LLP for thirty-six years, Mitchell resigned in 2008.

Mitchell helped found the National Association of Minority CPA Firms in 1971. In 1977, he was elected to the board of directors of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, becoming the first African American to serve on the board. He also served as chair of the board of trustees of Ariel Mutual Funds.

Mitchell and his wife, Carole Mitchell, have three children: Tracey, Robbin, and Ronald.

Bert Mitchell was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 29, 2018.

Speaker Bureau Notes: