Blood, Myths and the Creation of Legends

By Miller, E. Ethelbert | Black Issues in Higher Education, October 2, 1997 | Go to article overview

Blood, Myths and the Creation of Legends


Miller, E. Ethelbert, Black Issues in Higher Education


Blood, Myths and the Creation of Legends

One of my best literary friends [is crime investigator author Dan Moldea. Often interviewed on national television, Moldea is the author of The Hoffa Wars, The Killing of Robert F. Kennedy, and Evidence Dismissed: The Inside Story of the Police Investigation of O.J. Simpson. When examining a mysterious case in which a well known person has died, Moldea told me his first objective is to get to the basic facts -- review the public record, examine the physical evidence, and talk to all possible sources and witnesses.

This is something historian Spencie Love sets out to do in One Blood: The Death and Resurrection of Charles R. Drew, which is a fascinating account of the 1950 tragic automobile accident which claimed the life of the outstanding medical surgeon and Black leader.

In 1950, Charles Drew was the chairman of Howard University's Medical School Surgery Department and chief surgeon at Freedmen's Hospital (now Howard University Hospital). During World War II, he was responsible for pioneering scientific research in blood plasma and blood banking. He was also outspoken about segregated medical practices in the United States -- especially policies that initially excluded Black blood from American Red Cross blood banks, and later segregated Black and White blood.

As a result of his achievements in the medical field, Drew's death -- which many people erroneously believe was caused by denial of medical services -- encouraged various beliefs which upheld the painful reminder of segregation within the Black community. Rumors circulated following the Drew accident reflecting the state of race relations in the United States at the time and the perceived hostility against Black people in the South.

One Blood is not a biography of Charles Drew. Instead, it is an examination of how rumors and the opinions of people help determine history.

Love's approach to her material is based on new research methods. She aims to show how "there are different kinds of historical truth," and that the history people pass on orally -- a group's legends -- is an important clue not only to how they feel and think about their past, but also to the very substance of that past. History, according to Love, is derived from people's memories.

How and why a Charles Drew legend developed is a major part of Love's research. Her book encourages one to reread Patricia A. Turner's I Heard B Through The Grapevine, which examines how rumors circulate within African American culture. I am certain that if I was on the Howard campus back in 1950 and learned about the tragic death of Drew, I would have been shocked and wondering if the news reports were accurate. I probably would have held on to my own beliefs, regardless of the facts, and would have passed on a few rumors myself. In time, however, rumors help shape the legends we believe.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Blood, Myths and the Creation of Legends
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.