The Death and Resurrection of Charles R.Drew
One Blood traces both the life of the famous black surgeon and blood plasma pioneer Dr. Charles Drew and the well-known legend about his death. On April 1, 1950, Drew died after an auto accident in rural North Carolina. Within hours, rumors spread: the man who helped create the first American Red Cross blood bank had bled to death because a whites-only hospital refused to treat him. Drew was in fact treated in the emergency room of the small, segregated Alamance General Hospital. Two white surgeons worked hard to save him, but he died after about an hour. In her compelling chronicle of Drew's life and death, Spencie Love shows that in a generic sense, the Drew legend is true: throughout the segregated era, African Americans were turned away at hospital doors, either because the hospitals were whites-only or because the 'black beds' were full. Love describes the fate of a young black World War II veteran who died after being turned away from Duke Hospital following an auto accident that occurred in the same year and the same county as Drew's.
African Americans are shown to have figuratively 'bled to death' at white hands from the time they were first brought to this country as slaves. By preserving their own stories, Love says, they have proven the enduring value of oral history. General Interest/Race Relations |For some years, The Nature of North Carolina's Southern Coast has stood as an essential resource for all who treasure our coastal environment. In this book, Dirk Frankenberg describes the southern coast's beaches, inlets, and estuaries and instructs readers in the responsible exploration and enjoyment of some of North Carolina's most precious natural areas. From Ocracoke Inlet to the South Carolina border, this field guide provides a close-up look at a complex ecosystem, highlighting the processes that have shaped, and continue to shape, North Carolina's southern coast.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
This is a thoughtful and articulate examination of the power - and reality - of myth as an engine of history. Journalist and historian Love explores the life and legend of Charles Drew, an African-American surgeon who made a significant contribution to the development and distribution of blood plasma in the early 19405 and later devoted himself to creating a team of black surgeons who could serve their communities in racially divided America. In 1950, the 45-year-old Drew was grievously injured in a car accident in rural North Carolina and taken to a segregated hospital, where white doctors worked feverishly but unsuccessfully to save his life. Almost overnight, the legend grew up that Drew had died because the hospital had turned him away on account of his race. Despite efforts to dispel it by his family and others who knew the truth, the myth became generally accepted as fact among black Americans, often finding its way into print, including popular biographies of Drew. Love shows that the legend had its basis in the realities of African-American experience, which did, in fact, encompass routine denial of medical care; she describes the case of Maltheus Avery, who died a few months after Drew under circumstances that matched those of the Drew legend. Love explains that the confluence of Drew's identity as a black pioneer in blood research with the reality, both literal and metaphorical, of blacks "bleeding to death" as a result of white racism lent itself perfectly to belief in the legend. Without denying the importance of verifiable facts to historical analysis, she persuasively argues that a group's shared memory, even if inaccurate, provides an important guide to the truths of its experience. The book's one flaw is, ironically, that it sometimes gets bogged down in the facts of Drew's and Avery's lives. An illuminating study, not only of black and American history, but of History itself. (Kirkus Reviews)