Drew As An African American Last Name

The 2010 U.S. Census recorded 4,236 black Americans with Drew as their last name. That represented 18% of the total of 23,722 entries.

This article tracks their numbers in the census since the Civil War. We also look at historic African American people named Drew.

We end with a review of early records of black military service in the United States.

After The Civil War

The 1870 census was the first survey after the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation. In 1850 and 1860, only free African Americans were recorded in the census. The many enslaved were omitted.

From 1870 onward, all black Americans were included.

570 people named Drew were recorded in the 1870 census as black and 154 as mixed.

There was a total of 6,944 people with the name.

Drew In The 1900 And 1940 Census

The mixed category was dropped from the census in 1900, so we just need to look at the black numbers this time.

The 1900 census recorded 1,274 people with the last name Drew as black within a total of 10,262 that year.

By the way, the mixed category returned in the 1910 and 1920 censuses. It was dropped again in 1930, but replaced with extra categories for colored and non-white in a way that seems confusing now.

This changed again in 1940 and we can simply focus on one black category.

The 1940 census recorded 1,543 people named Drew as black within a total of 14,270.

Historic Black Figures With The Drew Surname

Here are some notable African Americans in history with Drew as their last name.

Charles Richard Drew

  • Born: 1904
  • From: Washington D.C.
  • Died: 1950

George Drew grew up in Foggy Bottom and went to Amherst College in Massachusetts on a sports scholarship. After graduating in 1926, he went to Montreal to attend McGill’s Medical School. He was second in his class when he received his doctorate in medicine in 1933.

After working for several years at the Freedman’s Hospital in D.C., he continued his postgraduate research. His doctoral thesis was on blood preservation. Drew discovered that de-liquifaction (the separation of blood from cells) could keep plasma intact for two months longer than traditional methods.

At the start of World War II, Drew applied his research to the preservation of large volumes of plasma transported to Britain for blood transfusions for British soldiers.

He was appointed director of the American Red Cross’s Blood Bank in 1941. Drew invented the bloodmobile, the mobile vans that collect blood. In protest at the Red Cross unscientific policy of segregating blood donations, he resigned the position in 1942.

Charles Drew’s nephew, Fred Gregory, became an astronaut and flew on three space shuttle missions. His grandfather, Charles Munroe Gregory, was an educator and civil rights activist in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Alvin Drew

  • Born: 1962
  • From: Washington D.C.

When Alvin Drew was five years old, he was glued to the television as Apollo 7 took off from Cape Kennedy. With a firm desire to go into space, he graduated in 1984 from the U.S. Air Force Academy with a degree in astronautical engineering. He was commissioned into the Air Force and flew combat missions during the Gulf War.

NASA select Drew for the astronaut program in 2000. He spent several years training as a mission specialist before taking a sabbatical to complete a Master’s. Drew’s first space flight was on the Space Shuttle Endeavor to the International Space Station in 2007.

His second flight was in 2011 on the Space Shuttle Discovery’s final mission. The Discovery docked with the Space Station where Drew completed two space walks.

Drew In Black Military Records

Military records are a rich resource of information for family history research. Here are examples of the Drew surname from military service.

Buffalo Soldiers

Five regiments for black soldiers were formed during the Civil War. They were known as the Buffalo Soldiers.

Their records are part of the national archive of military monthly returns. The information includes the year and place of birth, where they enlisted, their occupation, and their height.

One of the earliest military entries for Drew was in December 1889. John P. Drew was a Private in the U.S. Tenth Cavalry. He was stationed in December 1889 at Holbrook, Arizona Territory.

One of the later entries was in June 1905. Cassie B. Drew was a Private in the U.S. Ninth Cavalry.

If you are researching military ancestors, there is a free index of these records on Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org.

You have to create an account on either website, but you do not need to pay for the Buffalo Soldiers archive.

Drew In The Freedmen’s Bureau Records

The Freedmen’s Bureau was established after the Civil War to help newly freed African Americans. You can read more in our article on researching the Freedmen archives.

There are over 1,100 records for Drew in the archives. Here are some of the first names:

  • Delia
  • Fletcher
  • Lincoln
  • Thatcher