Culture Dish

Today is a very exciting day:  Henrietta Lacks (aka HeLa) has been lying in an unmarked grave since her death in 1951. Today, thanks to Dr. Roland Pattillo at Morehouse School of Medicine, who donated a headstone after reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, her grave is finally marked.  Below, a snapshot of some members of the Lacks family beside the new marker for Henrietta, and the marker for her daughter, Elsie, which was also unveiled today.  Dr. Roland Pattillo is pictured at the far left:

Henrietta Lacks funeral.jpg
Her stone, in case you can’t tell from the picture, is shaped like a book. The text was written by members of the Lacks family. It reads:
  
Henrietta Lacks, August 01, 1920-October 04, 1951.  
In loving memory of a phenomenal woman, wife and mother who touched the lives of many. 
Here lies Henrietta Lacks (HeLa).  Her immortal cells will continue to help mankind forever.
Eternal Love and Admiration, From Your Family 
Many thanks to Melissa Bell for the photo.

Comments

  1. #1 Lila
    May 29, 2010

    That’s really great, Rebecca.

  2. #2 Heather Clemenceau
    May 29, 2010

    Nice work and thanks to everyone involved in correcting this deficit for Henrietta, Elsie, Deborah, and the rest of the Lacks family.

  3. #3 Dionne Ford
    May 29, 2010

    Beautiful tombstones and a lovely picture. I’ve just started reading the book and am already enthralled.

  4. #4 Comrade PhysioProf
    May 29, 2010

    Sklooty, that is so awesome! And you should be really proud for writing such a fucking great book!

  5. #5 Warren Daniel
    May 29, 2010

    I feel like I bonded with the family after reading the book. I am thrilled that Henrietta Lacks has a memorial to her life.

  6. #6 Chris Smyth, Dublin, Ireland
    May 30, 2010

    Got a bit choked up on seeing Henrietta’s headstone and the family. Nice to see that recognition is finally coming to that poor woman and her long suffering family.
    Congratulations to you, Rebecca, for seeing this through. Restores my faith in humanity :)

  7. #7 Tybo
    May 30, 2010

    Ms. Skloot, if you’re not already, you should be proud for the part you’ve done in giving Lacks and her surviving family the recognition they deserve.

  8. #8 Christopher Gwyn
    May 30, 2010

    Good.

  9. #9 Carmen
    May 30, 2010

    I’m weeping as I write this comment. Truly a historic occasion! The sentiment on Henrietta’s marker is so fitting and beautiful. Thank you, Rebecca, for helping the Lacks family honour the memories of Henrietta and Elsie at long last — and for helping the rest of us appreciate the woman behind HeLa. Now, if only Johns Hopkins would give the surviving family members free or low-cost health care…

  10. #10 red pepper
    May 31, 2010

    Sklooty, that is so awesome! And you should be really proud for writing such a fucking great book!

  11. #11 taryn
    June 1, 2010

    Rebecca…you’ve written a great book! I’ve just finished and I’m so pleased to see the above pictures. It’s criminal that it wasn’t done sooner.
    Congratulations on a job well done.

  12. #12 maureen
    June 1, 2010

    An amazing story so well told – thank you for the telling. Its just right and fitting that this story be told to the world as haven’t we all had the benefit from Henrietta cells. So pleased that this lady and her family now have the recognition that is deserved

  13. #13 red pepper
    June 11, 2010

    I am thrilled that Henrietta Lacks has a memorial to her life.

  14. #14 Marsetta Lee
    June 25, 2010

    Learned about this incredible book thru my Book Club “Brothers and Sisters BC”. Her living was not in vain. What a wonderful tribute for her families for generations to come.

  15. #15 saƧ ekimi merkezi
    June 26, 2010

    very nices article.An amazing story so well told – thank you for the telling. Its just right and fitting that this story be told to the world as haven’t we all had the benefit from Henrietta cells. So pleased that this lady and her family now have the recognition that is deserved