Rebecca Skloot's The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks

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What factors affected the course of Henrietta Lacks’ and the HeLa cells’ life? Henrietta Lacks and her family lived in a town named Clover in Virginia with little money to live on. After Henrietta married, her husband had to work multiple jobs to put bread on the table. Later, Henrietta was diagnosed with cervical cancer, leading to her death. John Hopkins took her cells for research without informing her family. Later known as “HeLa”, her cells eventually became one of the most important human cell lines in the medical field. Despite the impact Henrietta’s cells had on the medical world, her family and her descendants received no compensation or medical help, but rather faced exploitation from the medical and science community. In The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (2010) by Rebecca Skloot, Skloot describes how the Lacks family endured the immoral treatment specifically through the lens of poverty and race.…show more content…
Henrietta’s family struggled financially since the beginning of her life. This prevented Henrietta and her siblings from receiving a proper education; Henrietta “stayed until the sixth grade” while her brother Guy “stopped in the fourth grade because the family needed him to work the fields.” (Skloot, 20) Not only were they poor, but they were also black. During the 1930s, that meant the education they received was inferior to their white peers. Henrietta and her brother had to “walk two miles -- past the white school where children threw rocks and taunted her -- to the colored school, a three-room wooden farmhouse hidden under tall shade trees.” (Skloot,20) One of the major issues with racial isolation is that it not only develops inequality but it also “denies … children the experiences they need to succeed in a global economy, where employers, co-workers, and customers will be increasingly diverse,” Education

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