University of Rochester

EVENT: Charles Drew Symposium Explores Racial Barriers

March 13, 2001

Throughout the first half of this century, African Americans were turned away from "whites-only" hospitals or from hospitals where the "black beds" were full. So when Charles Drew, a 45-year-old black surgeon, died in 1950 following a car accident in North Carolina, it was quickly assumed that he had been denied treatment. In fact, three emergency room doctors had worked diligently to try to save Drew's life, but his injuries were too severe. A legend was born that, though inaccurate, was nevertheless based on historical realities.

An upcoming symposium will explore stories and misconceptions that maintain racial barriers and how victims of oppression turn myths into truths based on historical injustices. Sponsored by the Office of Minority Student Affairs of the University of Rochester, the University of Rochester Medical Center, and St. John Fisher College, the event, titled "When Legend is Truth," will be held from 2:30 to 6:45 p.m. on Friday, March 30, in Whipple Auditorium at the Medical Center. Parking for participants will be available in the South Visitor Lot on Crittenden Boulevard.

The program is open to the community and features dinner keynote speaker Spencie Love, author of One Blood: The Death and Resurrection of Charles R. Drew. Love received her doctorate in American history from Duke University and has taught at Duke, the University of North Carolina, and the University of Oregon. Before pursuing an academic career, she worked as a journalist, writing for a variety of newspapers and magazines including the Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, and the Wall Street Journal.

During the day panels will be held on "Seeing Red: Charles Drew, the Red Cross and the Blood Plasma Project," "Nothing But the Blood: 'Righting' Race and Religion in 2001," and "The One Drop Rule: The Intersection of Blood, Race and Social Justice."

Copies of a study guide are available in the libraries of St. John Fisher and the University of Rochester or by e-mail.

Symposium cost is $20 for the general public and $10 for University of Rochester and St. John Fisher College students. For reservations, call Cathy Collins at 275-2175.