Notable Figures: Bayard Rustin and Dr. Charles R. Drew

Hello CityHawks! February marks Black History Month, and during this time, we are paying tribute to both historical and contemporary Black trailblazers. This week, we delved into the stories of...

"The organizers and perpetuators of segregation are as much the enemy of America as any foreign invader." -Bayard Rustin

Bayard Rustin was a civil rights activist. Born in 1912 and succumbing to natural causes in 1987, Rustin kept busy in his adult life. He is known for his role in the logistics planning and orchestrating the March on Washington in 1963, where a quarter of a million people turned out. The March on Washington is where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I have a dream…” speech. Bayard Rustin and Martin Luther King Jr. were close friends.

"It is fundamentally wrong for any great nation to willfully discriminate against such a large group of its people…One can say quite truthfully that on the battlefields nobody is very interested in where the plasma comes from when they are hurt…It is unfortunate that such a worthwhile and scientific bit of work should have been hampered by such stupidity." -Dr. Charles R. Drew, 1944

Dr. Charles R. Drew discovered a long-term method for storing blood plasma. During World War II, Drew’s findings allowed him to organize large-scale blood banks for the armed forces. He then went on to become the first director of the American Red Cross, only to resign about a year later due to his stance on discriminatory medical practice. In 1943, Dr. Charles R. Drew became the first African American to chosen to serve as an examiner on the American Board of Surgery.