Dr. Charles Richard Drew House

Historical Significance

Charles Richard Drew, M.D. (1904-1950) made many of the important early medical discoveries concerning blood plasma, and his findings saved thousands of soldiers during World War II. Born in Washington D.C., Dr. Drew graduated from Amherst College and earned the degree of Doctor of Medicine and Master of Surgery from McGill University in Montreal 1933 , returning to serve as a faculty instructor in pathology at Howard University from 1935 to 1936.

He then became an instructor in surgery and an assistant surgeon at Freedman's Hospital, a federally operated facility associated with Howard University. In 1938, Drew was awarded a two-year Rockefeller fellowship in surgery and began postgraduate work at Columbia University, earning his Doctor of Science in Surgery in 1940.

The leading authority in the field of blood preservation, Dr. Drew was selected as the full-time medical director of the Blood for Britain project, supervising the successful collection of 14,500 pints of vital plasma for the British. In 1941, Drew was appointed director of the first American Red Cross Blood Bank, in charge of blood for use by the U.S. Army and Navy.

Dr. Drew protested against the practice of racial segregation in the donation of blood, as it lacked scientific foundation. He resigned from his official posts in 1942, after the armed forces ruled that the blood of African-Americans would be accepted but would have to be stored separately from that of whites. In 1943, Dr. Drew's distinction in his profession was recognized when he became the first black surgeon selected to serve as an examiner on the American Board of Surgery.

After a short life of dedicated work and copious awards, Dr. Drew was killed in a car accident in 1950 on his way to attend the annual free clinic at the John A. Andrew Memorial Hospital in Tuskegee, Alabama. Drew was survived by his wife, Lenore, and their four children. In 1981 the US Postal Service issued a 35-cent stamp in Dr. Drew's honor. 

Physical Description

The wooden home was Dr. Drew's residence from 1920 to 1939. It was placed on the National Historic Landmarks list in 1976.

Geographical and Contact Information

2505 First St. South
Arlington, Virginia
22204

Images

Charles Richard Drew House

Charles Richard Drew House

Source: Courtesy Virginia Dept. Historic Resources View File Details Page

Charles Richard Drew

Charles Richard Drew

Source: National Archives and Records Administration View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, “Dr. Charles Richard Drew House,” African American Historic Sites Database, accessed March 25, 2017, http://aahistoricsitesva.org/items/show/112.

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