This Day in Black History: June 3, 1904

Dr. Charles Drew, pioneering physican, surgeon and researcher, was born in Washington, D.C.

Posted: 06/03/2012 07:00 AM EDT

Pioneering physician Dr. Charles Richard Drew was born on June 3, 1904, in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Drew is known best for his groundbreaking work discovering new methods of processing and storing blood plasma for transfusion. He also directed blood plasma programs in the United States and Great Britain during WWII, but he left his post after the armed forces demanded segregated blood banks despite lacking scientific reasoning to do so. Drew was one of the first African-Americans to be offered membership to the American Board of Surgery, and in 1944, he received the NAACP Spingarn Medal for his groundbreaking contributions to modern medicine.

He died at age 45 from injuries resulting from a car accident in Burlington, North Carolina.

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