In April of 1941, Charles Drew returned to Howard University, glad to return to teaching and to his growing family. He recalled that surgery had always been his "chief interest," and he saw teaching a new generation of black surgeons at Howard as a very important task. He was quickly promoted to full professor at Howard, and to Chief Surgeon at Freeman's Hospital.
He continued to speak out against the discriminatory practices of the Red Cross blood banks, as well as against medical societies like the American Medical Association and the the American College of Surgeons, which excluded Blacks from membership. As hospital privileges and specialty training tended to be increasingly tied to membership in such organizations, Drew saw this as an important goal, if the students he was teaching were going to be able to excel in medicine.
While he is widely remembered for his work with blood banks, he saw his teaching at Howard to be most important and most satisfying work.
Sadly, Drew's life was cut short when, on April 1, 1950, he fell asleep at the wheel while driving to a conference. He recieved a blood transfusion at the (all-white) hospital, but his injuries were too severe. There is an urban legend that Drew's death was due to his being ironically denied a blood transfusion by the hospital staff due to his race. While this legend has been debunked multiple times, it has persisted, likely due to the fact that so many Blacks in the South at that time were denied aid or given subpar care from white hospitals.