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Community Advocacy Organization

A Look In The Mirror - Charles Drew (1904 to 1950) Surgeon and Pioneer

Charles Richard Drew was a medical researcher and surgeon who worked in the field of transfusions. He conducted studies on the storage of blood and developed methods to improve its quality. His work allowed medical professionals to save thousands of lives during the Second World War.

As one of the most prominent African American individuals in the field, he protested against racial segregation in the blood donation process. He then resigned from his position with the Red Cross. The organization maintained this policy until 1950.

He and his wife, Minnie Lenore Robbins, got married in 1939. They had three children. His daughter, Charlene Jarvis, served on the DC Council from 1979 to 2000. In 1941, Drew became the first African American surgeon to be appointed to the position of examiner for the American Board of Surgery. He had a long career in medicine and research before returning to Howard University and the Freedman's Hospital.

He was given the Spingarn Medal in 1944 by the NAACP for his contributions to the American and British projects. In 1945, he was presented with an honorary Doctor of Science degree by Virginia State College.


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