Today, the Red Cross is fighting on the front lines to eradicate the coronavirus, and it was the invention of Dr. Charles R. Drew that gave the Red Cross a lifesaving technique. Dr. Drew invented the first blood bank in America and Great Britain. Through blood transfusion research, the amazing doctor developed a groundbreaking technique to store blood plasma.

At the start of World War II, 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.

Dr. Drew would later serve as the director of Red Cross and head of the National Blood Donor Service, helping mass produce lifesaving plasma overseas as the war ragged on. Before long, he invented blood mobiles, which consisted of mobile blood donation trucks with onboard refrigeration. This cemented his claim to fame as Father of the Blood Bank. Learn more about this live-saving pioneer below.

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.