Charles R. Drew

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Charles R. Drew

Charles Richard Drew (June 3, 1904 – April 1, 1950) was an American physician, surgeon, and medical researcher. He was the first African American to earn a Doctor of Science in Medicine degree (1940).

He researched in the field of blood transfusions, developing improved techniques for blood storage, and applied his expert knowledge to developing large-scale blood banks early in World War II. This allowed medics to save thousands of lives of the Allied forces. The research and development aspect of his blood storage work is disputed. As the most prominent African American in the field, Drew protested against the practice of racial segregation in the donation of blood, as it lacked scientific foundation, and resigned his position with American Red Cross, which maintained the policy until 1950. The District of Columbia chapter of the American Medical Association allowed only white doctors to join, consequently “... Drew died without ever being accepted for membership in the AMA.”[1]


  • I feel that the recent ruling of the United States Army and Navy regarding the refusal of colored blood donors is an indefensible one from any point of view. As you know, there is no scientific basis for the separation of the bloods of different races except on the basis of the individual blood types or groups.(1942)
    • (1942) Spencie Love, One Blood: The Death and Resurrection of Charles R. Drew (1996) ISBN 0-8078-2250-7, 155-56, quoting as it appeared in Current Biography(1944),180.


  1. Wynes, Charles E. (1988). Charles Richard Drew: The Man and the Myth. Internet Archive. University of Illinois Press (Urbana). pp. 84. ISBN 978-0-252-01551-9. 

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