“Red Cross, Double Cross”: The Untold Story of Race, Blood, and World War II

Lecture Description

America’s World War II-Era Blood Donor Service collected blood and plasma from millions of donors, shipped it to service personnel fighting overseas, and saved countless lives. And yet the program first excluded African American donors from taking part and then, only after a wave of protest and growing demand for blood, accepted them, but solely on a segregated basis. At least officially, Jim Crow blood policies, targeted exclusively at African Americans, remained in place for the entire war and several years beyond. This talk explores this largely untold blood story, arguing that it sheds light on the early roots of the civil rights movement and raises questions about how well Americans’ popular memories of World War II capture its nuances and complexity.


African American World War II

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