The Immortality Of Henrietta Lacks

A Story That Needed To Be Told

Screenshot 2018-06-29 23.10.05First off, let me say this. I need to give credit to Oprah Winfrey. She is a multi millionaire, but she is never afraid to play the role of someone real. She has no problem getting down and dirty and in this movie, where she plays Deborah Lacks, a woman who suffers from extreme anxiety and PTSD from the many ways that life has taken all it could from her. She was trying to find the truth about her mother whose cells were used to create HELA, where they took cells from a black (colored) woman and used them to reproduce and replicate. Her cells were used to cure all types of diseases but these cells were taken illegally.

Yet John Hopkins was able to take them because they removed the identity of the patient. Kind of jacked up, here they were selling the medicine they created from Deborah and her siblings mothers DNA and yet they never saw a dime. The story follows the reporter and her way of trying to get a clear understanding of the woman behind HELA, because in those days they were afraid to let people know that science and medicine was created with the cells of a black woman.

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This story is just as important as every other story so that the ignorance and stigma behind black people will stop. I wonder how many racist people would love to find out the reason that stem cell research was done was due to Henrietta Lacks, how many cells of a black woman was used to cure their diseases. The only reason they removed her identity was because she was black and the fact that they stole her cells with no permission from her family, which was so much easier to do to a black person in those days. Look at Tuskegee, and the numerous trials they did on black women.

This wasn’t the only form of abuse in this story, you hear of Deborah’s older sister Elsie who was put into a mental hospital and died at fifteen. Deborah never knew the story until going to the old hospital. There she was given her records and a picture where the staff was holding up her by her neck. Her sister was given burr holes in her head because they believed it would drain the cerebral fluid and calm her down.

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Henrietta Lacks died of Breast Cancer but her spirit and her body lives on in all medicine and medical discovery even to this day. And unfortunately her daughter died 8 months before the novel came out. She was not able to see the conversation and how important her mothers story became to this one woman, to us all.

Medicine and medical trails wasn’t always humane, and today in some places, it still isn’t. They only removed slaves and black people and traded them for animals, who get more of a movement than we ever did. (But let me sip my tea.) The truth about so many things is out there, with technology, go and learn something new.



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