1942 — Dr Charles Drew patents a method of preserving blood plasma

Born in 1904, Dr Charles Drew was one of the first black surgeons in the United States – although that is far from being his only claim to fame.

His work in the fields of blood transfusions and storage led to breakthroughs in the field, culminating in the development of large scale blood banks that saved thousands of lives of Allied soldiers and civilians during the war. He also protested the segregation of blood supplies along racial lines, on the ground that there was no scientific basis for it (as indeed, there is not). He lost his job over this stance, but it did not deter him from it.

He also became the first black man to be selected to serve as an examiner of the American Board of Surgery.

Referenced in:

Black Man — Stevie Wonder