Black Woman named Henrietta Lacks saved over a million people lives but gets no credit, why?
Nobody asked Henrietta Lacks for consent to use her cells in research in 1951 — and, shockingly, consent is still not always required in the United States today.
But the story of Henrietta Lacks also illustrates the racial inequities that are embedded in the US research and health-care systems. Lacks was a Black woman. The hospital where her cells were collected was one of only a few that provided medical care to Black people
Henrietta Lacks was born Loretta Pleasant on August 1, 1920, in Roanoke, Virginia, to Eliza and Johnny Pleasant.
In 1935, when Lacks was 14 years old, she gave birth to a son, Lawrence Lacks.
In 1939, her daughter Elsie Lacks (1939–1955) was born.
On April 10, 1941, Day and Henrietta Lacks were married in Halifax County, Virginia.
Lacks was the unwitting source of these cells from a tumor biopsied during treatment for cervical cancer at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S., in 1951.
She received blood transfusions and remained at the hospital until her death on October 4, 1951.