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Home » Discuss » DU Groups » Race & Ethnicity » African-American Issues Group Donate to DU
Xipe Totec Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-09-06 09:39 AM
Response to Original message
Charles Richard Drew was born in 1904 in a black neighborhood in the so-called Foggy Bottom area of Washington, D.C. His intellectual and athletic abilities were soon evident. He went to Amherst College on scholarship in 1922 and served as both captain of the track team and football quarterback.

At the time, even in the North, most public institutions were still segregated. Drew was a campus hero, but he couldn't belong to most honor societies. He lived in a tough world, and his career plans made it tougher. He wanted to go to medical school. His bachelor's degree had left him in debt, so he took a job as athletic director and chemistry teacher at Morgan College -- a small black school in Baltimore. Two years later he was able to enter medical school at McGill University in Canada.

He finished his internship, and a residency in surgery, in 1935. But all the time another interest had been welling up. He wanted to solve the problem of preserving blood for transfusions. He spent three years teaching at Howard Medical School and then went to Columbia University to do his Ph.D. on blood storage.

He finished a thesis, titled Banked Blood, in 1940. It was a monumental work. He was now the world expert in preserving human blood. He'd developed the notion of separating and storing plasma to the point that it was a practical reality. And this was the first doctorate Columbia ever awarded to a black.
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