The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks

1042 WordsDec 15, 20165 Pages
Sixteen-year-old Rebecca Skloot was sitting in a college biology class when she first heard of Henrietta Lacks and the HeLa cells. In class, Rebecca saw how the HeLa cells were able to reproduce and “they became the first immortal human cells ever grown in a laboratory” (Skloot 4). Henrietta Lack was also a black woman. Rebecca became very interested and wanted to know more, but at the end of class the professor told her that there this very little information on Henrietta. This spurred Rebecca’s interest even more. She began extensive research on this topic to satisfy this interest. We worked through graduate school and finally tried to reach out to the Lacks family for more information. It turns out that there had been some unpleasantness in the family history and it was challenging for them to talk about Henrietta. Once their stories were told, Rebecca put enough puzzle pieces of Henrietta’s life together, and she constructed a book entitled The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. In August of 1920, Henrietta Lacks was born and reared in Virginia. She was one of ten children. Once her mother passed away, all of her siblings were allocated to other relatives in the family. Henrietta was sent to live with her grandfather on his tobacco farm. She lived a poor lifestyle and in a time period where racial segregation was more than common. When she was grown, she married her cousin David “Day” Lacks. Together they had a total of five children. The first born was a son named

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