Henrietta Lacks Research Paper

2185 Words9 Pages
I entered my intro to sociology class this semester without any knowledge of who Henrietta Lacks was and how she so greatly and unknowingly changed the future of science. That all changed when my professor handed to the class a book called “The immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” written by Rebecca Skloot; on the cover was a black and white photo of a woman in a dress suit, smiling and hair pinned up. With hands on hips she appeared to be an ordinary beautiful woman, but her life and the story to follow after her death was everything but ordinary. Without her knowledge or consent and unrelated to her treatment doctors at John Hopkins Hospital took some of Henrietta Lacks’s cells from her cervix for research. Those cells and the trillions that would soon grow from them became the cornerstone of a “medical revolution” and have become one of the most important tools in science. Henrietta Lacks was born in Roanoke, Virginia on August 1, 1920 to father Johnny Pleasant and mother Eliza Lacks Pleasant. In 1924 after Henrietta’s mother died giving birth to her tenth child Johnny Pleasant who didn’t have enough patience to raise his children took Henrietta and her nine siblings back to Clover, Virginia where his family farmed tobacco fields and divided them up. Henrietta ended up with her grandfather Tommy Lacks who was already raising another grandchild of his, Henrietta’s cousin David Lacks nicknamed Day. Henrietta and Day had their first child together a few months after Henrietta’s fourteenth birthday and on April 10, 1941 they married and went on to have four more children: Elsie, David Jr., Deborah and Joe who has changed his name to Zakariyya. On January 29, 1951 months after giving birth to her fifth child at the age of thirty Henrietta Lacks entered the gynecology clinic of John Hopkins Hospital and went straight to the receptionist desk and said “I got a knot on

More about Henrietta Lacks Research Paper

Open Document