Original Repository: Howard University. Moorland-Spingarn Research Center. Charles R. Drew Papers
Reproduced with permission of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center.
"My Chief Interest Was and Is Surgery"--Howard University, 1941-1950
Letter from Edgar B. Carter to Charles R. Drew (November 1, 1944)
Dear Mr. Carter:
This is to acknowledge receipt of your letter of November 1, 1944. Mr. Alphran had come in to see us I believe when several
of our local physicians had asked him about the published Story of Plasma. I think that our men are very conscious of the
absence of my name because of the fact that recently I was awarded the Spingarn Medal on the basis of the part I had played
in the early development of mass production of plasma. It raised two problems in their minds -- Either that the Springarn
Medal was awarded to someone who had not earned it or that the part played was too small for inclusion in the Story of Plasma
as a whole. Since your article, I have had many visitors and several letters requesting information about my exact role in
the early part of this program. Doctor St. Hill of Meharry asked the most detailed questions and got probably the most detailed
answers and copy of his letter was sent to me.
As one who has frequently compiled literature for a short resume, I know the difficulties one has in including just the right
names. I think that the storm of protest in this particular time is secondary to the high degree of feeling concerning the
policy of segregation of the bloods now maintained by the Red Cross and the Armed Forces. The feeling is just a little less
heated than it was at the time when Negroes were forbidden even to give blood to the American Red Cross. It is another form
of humiliation which faces a large part of our population and makes them very hyper-sensitive to slights, which, though accidental,
have all the ear-marks of the many which are not accidental. I have not tried to evaluate too closely what my relative place
is in this story or should be. No matter how you write the story, it will be unfair to many people, for names like William
Thalhimer of New York City Department of Health, Unger of Post Graduate in New York, Rosenthal at Mt. Sinai Hospital of New
York, C. P. Rhoads of Memorial Hospital of New York, DeWitt Stetten, Chairman of the Medical Board of the Blood Transfusion
Association, Mr. Tracy Vorhees, President of the Long Island College Hospital and a great many others played such a dominant
role in selling this idea to the Red Cross and getting the project going that it would be very difficult for anyone not associated
with the early stages to write a true and fair story. All that you did write is accurate, well-done and was very informative,
I am sure, for the great mass of physicians.
I have written to Doctor St. Hill to tell him that the letter which he wrote you is accurate and if you cared to publish it,
it would meet with my approval. I am sure that Doctor St. Hill did not want to make any issue of the matter but simply wanted
to call your attention to what he felt was an omission which because of the present state of feeling about the plasma project
as a whole was certainly open to misinterpretation. I certainly do not wish to have an issue made of it in any way.