The Lacks family has enthralled audiences across the country by talking about our mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, Henrietta Lacks, and her transcendentally important contributions to science. The international success of Rebecca Skloot’s New York Times bestseller, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, has left people keenly interested in the Lacks family and Henrietta’s legacy. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks has also been made into an HBO film produced by Oprah Winfrey and Alan Ball. Several members of the family were brought on as consultants.
In our appearances, the family shares with audiences what it meant to find out—decades after the fact—that Henrietta’s cells were being used in laboratories around the world, bought and sold by the billions. With their visits, members of the Lacks family put a personal face on such issues as the dark history of medical experimentation on African-Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over informed consent. The Lacks’s thoughtful and personal connection to the bestselling book emphasizes how proud they are of Henrietta’s contribution to science. Family members have spoken to audiences at libraries, universities, colleges, secondary schools, and various professional associations. They have presented to the National Congress of Black Women, The Morehouse School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, the Virginia General Assembly, The University of Maryland Medical Center, Lawrence Livermore Laboratories, Novartis Pharmaceutical, and many other organizations.
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