One Blood is a book designed to highlight the life and works of Dr. Charles Drew and to set the record straight about his famous, tragic death. The book starts with the academic career of Dr. Drew. Dr. Drew attended Amherst College where he fought with the majority of white students that surrounded hi. He was an athletic student who had average grades. He was forced to go to Canada to attend medical school when no universities in the U.S. would grant him admission. He believed that the Canadian people were “color blind” because there was no segregation in the nation.
After finishing school and some internships he came back to the United States to work with Dr. Beattie. With his foot in the door, Dr. Drew went on to make great achievements in the field of blood work. He pioneered the use of blood plasma for transfusions., an act that saved many lives during the course of WWII. He also co-founded one of the first blood-banks in the United States and help set international standards for blood donation and storage.
Dr. Drew did not succeed without facing adversity though. Although qualified, he was refused admittance to several national medical organizations due to his color. Dr. Drew was a fair skinned, red haired black man, but a black man nonetheless. The organizations included the American Medical Association and the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Drew campaigned against the regulations barring blacks from joining local or national medical organizations, specifically the AMA.
Scientist of the day also kept blood segregated. Whites received white blood and blacks received black blood. This practice enraged Drew and he fought a long, hard battle trying to explain the importance of One Blood. This was never understood in his lifetime and was not desegregated as a whole until the 1950’s. It was a belief that black blood was contaminated and that receiving black blood made you black and open to oppression.
Dr. Drew’s death is a confusing situation. Love’s book tried to set the record straight about Drew’s death. In 1950, Drew died after sustaining major injuries in a car crash. It was believed by many that the accident occurred close to a whites-only hospital that refused to treat him, but Love’s book, One Blood: The Death and Resurrection of Charles Drew, refutes this account. The story does an injustice to the men and women who worked feverishly to save his life–including the black surgeon who worked on him. Drew died because of the severity of his injuries. Love notes that civil rights leaders such as Dick Gregory used the apocryphal Drew story in the 1960s to dramatize the lack of health services available to black Americans. The story even made it into an episode of the TV series “M*A*S*H.” Love adds that while Drew didn’t die because of a hospital’s whites-only practices, others did perish during that period because of such policies. The story was true in a sense, since it makes a meaningful statement about the world Drew lived in.
The story still rings true today in the minds of African Americans and AIDS and organ donation. Black people still feel that they may not receive the proper treatment for their medical problems. It is a trend that hopefully will get better and better with each generation.