On This Day

Charles R. Drew

Surgeon and Medical Researcher Charles R. Drew

Profession: Surgeon and Medical Researcher

United States of America

Biography: Called the 'Father of the Blood Bank' Charles R. Drew pioneered research into the process of blood transfusion and developed techniques for blood storage, including large-scale blood banks.

In 1940 he was appointed head of the 'Blood for Britain program to send blood plasma to Britain to tend the wounded during WWII. Later Drew was put in charge of a successful three-month trial program in New York that turned into a blueprint for the National Blood Donor Service.

As an African American Drew faced considerable racial prejudice throughout his career. Prejudice he publicly objected to and fought against. He protested at the Blood Bank's initial refusal to accept blood from African American and later its policy of segregating that blood. His career was cut tragically short after he died in an car accident in 1950.

Born: June 3, 1904
Birthplace: Washington, D. C., USA

Generation: Greatest Generation
Chinese Zodiac: Dragon
Star Sign: Gemini

Died: April 1, 1950 (aged 45)
Cause of Death: Car accident

Historical Events

  • 1940-08-16 Pioneering 'Blood for Britain' program sending blood plasma for WWII wounded from the US, headed by Charles R. Drew, officially begins in Britain