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Black History Month grew out of Negro History Week, which was established in February 1926 by African-American historian Carter G. Woodson. Woodson was the founder of the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History. The original history week was in February to include both Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln’s Birthdays. In 1976, the Nation’s Bicentennial, the celebration was extended to be a month-long. For more information on Black History Month visit a week this month, we’ll feature a prominent African-American here on the blog.

Dr. Charles Richard Drew was a New York based doctor and surgeon who became known as a medical pioneer for his research of blood plasma in the role of blood transfusions and for the proliferation of blood banks. Charles Drew was born in Washington, DC on June 3, 1904. After attending Amherst College, Drew went on to earn his medical degree from McGill University in 1933. He taught pathology at Howard University’s Medical School until travelling to New York to study blood plasma at Columbia Medical Center. His research there would earn him the moniker, “Father of Blood Plasma” and would lead to the saving of thousands of lives during WWII. He set up and administered the American Red Cross project to collect and store blood. He became head of the American Red Cross Blood Bank in 1941. Dr. Drew resigned, however, when the Red Cross decided to segregate blood according to the race of the donor. He maintained that there was no scientific difference between the blood of blacks and whites. After leaving the American Red Cross, Drew returned to Howard University’s Medical School in Washington, DC. In 1944, he was appointed Chief of Staff of the Freedmen’s Hospital there. He remained with Howard University until his death from a car accident, on April 1, 1950.


Dr. Charles Drew: medical pioneer. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Drew, Charles Richard. (2004). In The Great American History Fact-Finder. Retrieved from

Drew, Charles Richard (1904-1950). (2010). In The Hutchinson Dictionary of Scientific Biography. Retrieved from

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