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Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
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  • Monument Name

    Charles Richard Drew Memorial Marker, Haw River

  • Type

    Marker

  • Subjects

    Historic African American Figures

    Historic Medical Figures

  • City

    Green Level

  • County

    Alamance

  • Description

    The rectangular marker stands six feet in height with engravings into the stone and plaques adhered to the stone present on both sides.

  • Inscription

    Stone engraving on side facing Mebane Shrubbery: DREW MEMORIAL

    Plaque facing Mebane Shrubbery: ALAMANCE COUNTY / HISTORIC PROPERTIES COMMISSION / DONATED BY / ALAMANCE COUNTY, / OMEGA PSI PHI / FRATERNITY / AND / FRIENDS... / 1986

    Stone engraving on side facing NC 49: IN MEMORY OF / CHARLES RICHARD DREW / 1904-1950

    Plaque facing NC 49: CHARLES RICHARD DREW / 1904 - 1950 / BLACK SCIENTIST AND SURGEON / PIONEER IN THE PRESERVATION OF BLOOD PLASMA / MEDICAL DIRECTOR FOR THE BLOOD-FOR-BRITAIN PROJECT, 1940 / DIRECTOR OF THE FIRST AMERICAN RED CROSS BANK, 1941 / TEACHER TO A GENERATION OF AMERICAN DOCTORS, / FREEDMEN'S HOSPITAL, HOWARD UNIVERSITY, WASHINGTON, D.C. / OUTSTANDING ATHLETE, AMHERST COLLEGE AND MCGILL UNIVERSITY / MEMBER OF OMEGA PSI PHI FRATERNITY / STEADFAST FOE OF RACIAL INJUSTICE / DIED IN ALAMANCE GENERAL HOSPITAL, 1 APRIL, 1950, / AFTER AN AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT AT THIS SITE / "THERE MUST ALWAYS BE THE CONTINUING STRUGGLE TO MAKE THE INCREASING KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORLD / BEAR SOME FRUIT IN INCREASED UNDERSTANDING AND IN THE PRODUCTION OF HUMAN HAPPINESS." / CHARLES R. DREW

  • Custodian

    Alamance County Historic Properties Commission, Gilberta Mitchell

  • Dedication Date

    April 5, 1986

  • Decade

    1980s

  • Geographic Coordinates

    36.128310 , -79.346520 View in Geobrowsemap pin

  • Supporting Sources

      "Charles Drew Biography," Biography.com (accessed June 27, 2014) Link

      "Charles Richard Drew," Who Made America?, PBS.org (accessed June 27, 2014) Link

      "Dedication and Unveiling of the Dr. Charles Richard Drew Memorial Marker, " (Graham, NC: Alamance Counties Historic Properties Commission, 1986), (accessed June 27, 2014) Link

      Bellis, Mary. "Charles Drew - The Blood Bank," About Inventors (accessed June 27, 2014) Link

      Hayward, Mark. "Drew Memorial Event Saturday," The Times News (Burlington) 4 April 1986, 251 ed., Section B:2.

      Jordan, Patrick G. "Charles Richard Drew 1904 - 1950," Burlington in Alamance County, North Carolina - The American South (South Atlantic), The Historical Marker Database, HMDB.org, (accessed June 27, 2014) Link

      Wilson, B.A., W.G. O'Connor, and M.S. Willis. "The legacy of Charles R. Drew, MD, CM, MDSc," Immunohematology 27.3 (2011): 94-100. (accessed June 27, 2014) Link

  • Public Site

    Yes

  • Materials & Techniques

    Granite, Bronze

  • Sponsors

    Alamance County, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, private donations

  • Monument Dedication and Unveiling

    The unveiling and dedication of the monument took place on April 5, 1986, in Haw River, North Carolina off of NC 49 in an area across the road from where Drew was killed. The dedication was open to the public and some of those who knew him, including his daughter, brother, past co-workers and American Red Cross representatives, planned to attend the ceremony. Local, state, and national figures were invited and the Alamance Chorale provided music. The event was led by Burlington city councilman David Maynard.

  • Subject Notes

    Charles Richard Drew was born on June 3, 1904 in Washington, D.C. He attended Amherst College on an athletic scholarship and joined the Omega Psi Phi fraternity. Following his time at Amherst, he attended medical school at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, where he earned his M.D. and Master of Surgery degrees. He later earned his Doctor of Medical Science degree at Columbia University which made him the first African American to do so.

    Drew has been credited with saving numerous lives during World War II thanks to his research involving blood banks. While at Columbia, he wrote his dissertation, "Banked Blood: A Study in Blood Preservation." After this research, he was asked to be the supervisor for the "Blood for Britain" campaign. He was also the director of the American Red Cross' first effort to gain blood donations and bank blood.

    On March 31, 1950, Drew traveled with colleagues and students to attend a medical meeting at the Tuskegee Institute. After spending the night operating, Drew was driving on NC 49 near Burlington, North Carolina and lost control of his vehicle. The car flipped multiple times and trapped Drew underneath with life-threatening wounds. It is said that Drew was refused treatment when he arrived at Alamance General Hospital because he was African American. He died a short time after he arrived at the hospital.

  • Controversies

    Due to the fact that Charles Richard Drew was not a native of North Carolina, the state would not pay for the memorial marker. Because of this, the money for the marker was raised through donations coming from Alamance County, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, and other unnamed friends.

    Additionally, information has begun to challenge the belief that Drew was denied medical help by an all-white hospital. His injuries from the car accident were so severe that the physicians attending him were unable to save his life. Drew’s family have later held interviews and given statements that discredit what appears to be a historical legend.

  • Location

    The marker stands off the side of NC 49 on the left when traveling north, in front of Mebane Shrubbery.

  • Landscape

    The marker stands between NC 49 and Mebane Shrubbery on a patch of cement in front of the Shrubbery's chain link fence.

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