Have you ever needed a blood transfusion or knew someone who did? Have you ever given blood to your local Blood Bank?  Dr. Charles R. Drew developed and gave the American Red Cross this lifesaving technique. Dr. Drew invented the first blood bank in America and Great Britain. Through blood transfusion research, the talented doctor developed a groundbreaking technique to store blood plasma.

When World War II began, Dr. Drew was asked to head the medical program "Blood for Britain," which served as the model for the 1941 Red Cross pilot program. Using his technique of long-term blood preservation and storage, or blood banking, he helped save the lives of thousands of allied soldiers.

In 1940 Dr. Drew served as the director of the Red Cross, under his leadership developed the National Blood Donor Service, which helped to mass produce lifesaving plasma overseas during the war. Before long, he invented bloodmobiles, which consisted of mobile blood donation trucks with onboard refrigeration. This cemented his claim to fame as Father of the Blood Bank.

LOOK: 50 essential civil rights speeches

Many of the speakers had a lifetime commitment to human rights, but one tried to silence an activist lobbying for voting rights, before later signing off on major civil rights legislation. Several fought for freedom for more than one oppressed group.

Keep reading to discover 50 essential civil rights speeches.

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