Lifelines: The Black Book of Proverbs

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dr Drew invested in blood banks

Creation: Spring & Easter
Blood follow vein. (Jamaica)

Early experiences led me to associate going to the blood bank with hot chocolate given to us to compensate for the pint of blood we gave up. The technicians often sent me away with all my blood still in my veins, because I was often low on iron. My visits were often voluntary, but very frequently I would be giving blood for a friend or family member in crisis. Mostly I would avert my eyes from the blood leaving my body, but a little halo would take shape over my head at the thought that I might have saved someone life. Besides, controlled bloodletting could well be good for our health.

Blood banks have been saving lives since Dr Charles Richard (June 3, 1904 - April 1, 1950) began a system of preserving blood plasma. Drew, medical doctor, surgeon, and researcher, was born in Washington DC. His prowess at track and football helped him gain a part scholarship at Amherst College. Indeed, he was a coach between leaving college and attending medical school at McGill University (Montreal, Canada) and Colombia University (New York City).

Drew researched blood transfusions, and started the idea of blood banks for long term storage of blood plasma. He directed the US Blood for Britain project send blood for British soldiers and civilians in the event of a German invasion in 1940. He later became director of the blood bank for the National Research Council, collecting blood for the US army and navy. He also created the model for today’s Red Cross blood banks, and also helped set up the UK’s blood bank system.

When the US War Department’s issued a directive to separate blood from black and white donors, Drew resigned his position in protest. Drew lost his job as director when he protested a. Drew said, “the blood of individual human beings may differ by blood groupings, but there is absolutely no scientific basis to indicate any difference in human blood from race to race."

Dr Drew died in 1950 after a car accident. A US postage stamp was issued in 1981 to honor him.

Let's further honor him by scheduling an early visit to the nearest blood bank.

No comments:


When the occasion arises, there is a proverb to suit it. (Proverb from Rwanda and Burundi)

Welcome to this space where we can talk about proverbs that we can relate to (or not), and proverbs that make sense to us (or not). Most of all we can discuss how proverbs make us think about life and living. We can also share experiences of proverbs that have provided us with lifelines or just the chance to reflect.

Some of the proverbs here may also be found in "Lifelines: The Black Book of Proverbs", published by Random House and authored by Askhari Johnson Hodari and me. The foreword is written by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

One of the unique features of our book is that we arranged the proverbs according to life cycle, in sections including, Birth, Childhood, Love, Marriage, and Intimacy, Challenge, and Death.

For more proverbs and for information on Lifelines: the Black Book of Proverbs, please visit us at