One Blood

The Death and Resurrection of Charles R. Drew

By Spencie Love

Foreword by John Hope Franklin

400 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 36 halftones, 1 maps, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-4682-7
    Published: November 1997
  • eBook ISBN: 978-0-8078-6306-0
    Published: November 2000

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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

About the Author

A former journalist, Spencie Love received her Ph.D. in American history from Duke University and has taught at Duke and at the University of Oregon.
For more information about Spencie Love, visit the Author Page.


”A well-written and extensively researched book, One Blood is replete with new and exciting insights about Drew and the African American experience and should interest both the specialist and general reader.”--Journal of Southwest Georgia History

"Provocative and humbling social history."--Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"With energy, enthusiasm, and remarkable creativity and insight, Spencie Love has written a work that goes far beyond examining in detail how Drew died and how the legend grew. She has tried to penetrate through the many layers of mistrust, fear, anger, and confusion that have evolved between the races in American history and elucidate the larger human truths in that history."--John Hope Franklin, from the Foreword

"One Blood will rank alongside the seminal writings of William E. B. DuBois, James Baldwin, E. Franklin Frazier, Ralph Ellison, and John Hope Franklin. . . . With due respect to prior research efforts on the life and post mortem of Charles Drew, this work is the most thorough, penetrating, and revealing to date."--Journal of the American Medical Association

"One Blood is much more than a biography of Charles Drew. Through extensive research and interviews, Love has provided an excellent analysis of the recent history of black medical care in America. Highly recommended for academic and public libraries."--Library Journal

"With skillful hands, Spencie Love weaves together an array of interdisciplinary evidence and theory to produce an intriguing meditation on the meaning of myth and the role it plays in revealing and perpetuating deeper truths."--Civilization