Charles Drew

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Charles Drew was born 1904 and became an outstanding athlete at Amherst College, but he wasn't interested in his studies much until he enrolled in a biology class. In the mid-20's, he decided to become a doctor because he loved biology. He moved to Montreal, Canada and saved for his medical education at McGill University. Drew was an excellent student and developed an interest in the area of blood transfusions.

When he graduated with a doctorate, Drew accepted a position as pathology instructor at Howard University. He continued to study the possibilities of storing blood over a period of time. Because of his curiosity, Drew discovered that plasma, the clear substance in which red and white blood cells were suspended, could be stored by itself longer than the complete blood. This led to easier transfusions and eventually a blood bank.

During World War II, blood banks were established all over England and the United States. Drew was able devote himself to researching plasma full-time. The American Red Cross asked Charles Drew to be the director of Red Cross' plasma bank for thousands of serviceman. He soon resigned, however, because the Red Cross had a policy of differentiating the blood drawn from blacks and whites.

Drew bitterly objected to this policy. Being African-American himself, he firmly believed that blood should be separated by type, not skin color.

In 1949, Drew bacame a consultant for the Surgeon General.

The following year Charles Drew was on his way to give a speech at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. He fell asleep at the wheel and wrecked his car outside Burlington, North Carolina.

Contrary to popular opinion that Drew was denied treatment at an all-white hopital and died while on the way to the black hospital, he indeed received transfusion at the white hospital. He was beyond the help of the experienced doctors there; his wounds were too severe, and Charles Drew died on April 1, 1950.

Charles was well-known throughout his life for his charming pesonality and sense of humor. His work in blood transfusions saved millions of lives.


  • The Fundamentals of Math for Christian Schools, Bob Jones University, (the biography on p. 401)
  • Also this biography: [1]