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    May 29, 2010

    A Historic Day: Henrietta Lacks’s Long Unmarked Grave Finally Gets a Headstone

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    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 the new marker for Henrietta, and the marker for her daughter, Elsie, which was also unveiled today.

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    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.

    15 Responses to “A Historic Day: Henrietta Lacks’s Long Unmarked Grave Finally Gets a Headstone”

    1. 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

    2. Marsetta Lee says:

      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.

    3. red pepper says:

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

    4. maureen says:

      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

    5. taryn says:

      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.

    6. red pepper says:

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

    7. Carmen says:

      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…

    8. Christopher Gwyn says:

      Good.

    9. Tybo says:

      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.

    10. Chris Smyth, Dublin, Ireland says:

      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 🙂

    11. Warren Daniel says:

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

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

    13. Dionne Ford says:

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

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

    15. Lila says:

      That’s really great, Rebecca.

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    The Henrietta Lacks Foundation strives to provide financial assistance to needy individuals who have made important contributions to scientific research without their knowledge or consent.