Click here to Download The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks PDF Book by Rebecca Skloot English having PDF Size 14.5 MB and No of Pages 400.
No names have been changed, no characters invented, no events fabricated. While writing this book, I conducted more than a thousand hours of interviews with family and friends of Henrietta Lacks, as well as with lawyers, ethicists, scientists, and journalists who’ve written about the Lacks family.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks PDF Book by Rebecca Skloot
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I also relied on extensive archival photos and documents, scientific and historical research, and the personal journals of Henrietta’s daughter, Deborah Lacks . I’ve done my best to capture the language with which each person spoke and wrote: dialogue appears in native dialects; passages from diaries and other personal writings are quoted exactly as written.
As one of Henrietta’s relatives said to me, ” If you pretty up how people spoke and change the things they said, that’s dishonest. It’s taking away their lives, their experiences, and their selves .” In many places I’ve adopted the words interviewees used to describe their worlds and experiences. In doing so, I’ve used the language of their times and backgrounds, including words such as colored.
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Since Henrietta Lacks died decades before I began writing this book, I relied on interviews, legal documents, and her medical records to re-create scenes from her life. In those scenes, dialogue is either deduced from the written record or quoted verbatim as it was recounted to me in an interview. Whenever possible I conducted multiple interviews with multiple sources to ensure accuracy.
The extract from Henrietta’s medical record in chapter 1 is a summary of many disparate notations. The word HeLa, used to refer to the cells grown from Henrietta Lacks ‘s cervix, occurs throughout the book. It is pronounced hee-lah. About chronology: Dates for scientific research refer to when the research was conducted, not when it was published.
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In some cases those dates are approximate because there is no record of exact start dates. Also, because I move back and forth between multiple stories, and scientific discoveries occur over many years, there are places in the book where, for the sake of clarity, I describe scientific discoveries sequentially, even though they took place during the same general period of time.
The history of Henrietta Lacks and the HeLa cells raises important issues regarding science, ethics, race, and class; I’ve done my best to present them clearly within the narrative of the Lacks story, and I’ve included an afterword addressing the current legal and ethical debate surrounding tissue ownership and research.
There is much more to say on all the issues, but that is beyond the scope of this book, so I will leave it for scholars and experts in the field to address. I hope readers will forgive any omissions . On January 29, 1951, David Lacks sat behind the wheel of his old Buick, watching the rain fall. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks PDF Book
He was parked under a towering oak tree outside Johns Hopkins Hospital with three of his children – two still in diapers -waiting for their mother, Henrietta. A few minutes earlier she’d jumped out of the car, pulled her jacket over her head, and scurried into the hospital, past the “colored” bathroom, the only one she was allowed to use.
In the next building, under an elegant domed copper roof, a ten-and-a-half-foot marble statue of Jesus stood, arms spread wide, holding court over what was once the main entrance of Hopkins . No one in Henrietta’s family ever saw a Hopkins doctor without visiting the Jesus statue, laying flowers at his feet, saying a prayer, and rubbing his big toe for good luck.
But that day Henrietta didn’t stop. She went straight to the waiting room of the gynecology clinic, a wide-open space, empty but for rows of long straight-backed benches that looked like church pews . “I got a knot on my womb, ” she told the receptionist. “The doctor need to have a look. ” The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks PDF Book
Everywhere she go, there go Galen – he tried to stay up at Hennie house all the time when Day gone to work. Lord, Ethel was j ealous – made her hateful to Hennie somethin fierce. Always seemed like she wanted to hurt Hennie.” So Henrietta and Sadie would giggle and slip out the back to another club anytime Ethel showed up.
When they weren’t sneaking out, Henrietta, Sadie, and Sadie’s sister Margaret spent evenings in Henrietta’s living room, playing bingo, yelling, and laughing over a pot of pennies while Henrietta’s babies David Jr., Deborah, and Joe -played with the bingo chips on the carpet beneath the table. Lawrence was nearly sixteen, already out having a life of his own.
But one child was missing: Henrietta’s oldest daughter, Elsie. Before Henrietta got sick, she took Elsie down to Clover every time she went. Elsie would sit on the stoop of the home-house, staring into the hills and watching the sunrise as Henrietta worked in the garden. She was beautiful, delicate and feminine like Henrietta. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks PDF Book
Who dressed her in homemade outfits with bows and spent hours braiding her long brown curls. Elsie never talked, she just cawed and chirped like a bird as she waved her hands inches from her face. She had wide chestnut eyes that everyone stared into, trying to understand what went on in that pretty head.
But she just stared back, unflinching, her eyes haunted with fear and sadness that only softened when Henrietta rocked her back and forth. Sometimes Elsie raced through the fields, chasing wild turkeys or grabbing the family mule by the tail and thrashing against him until Lawrence pulled her off. Henrietta’s cousin Peter always said God had that child from the moment she was born.
Because that mule never hurt her. It was so mean it snapped at air like a rabid dog and kicked at the wind, but it seemed to know Elsie was special. Still, as she grew, she fell, she ran into walls and doors, burned herself against the woodstove. Henrietta made Day drive her and Elsie to revival meetings so preachers in tents could lay hands on Elsie to heal her. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks PDF Book Download
The one in the red pants and red suspenders – who turned out to be Speed’s oldest son, Keith – said she was out, and who knew when she’d be back, so I may as well grab a seat on the porch with the boys and wait. As I sat down, the man in the red and white ski jacket smiled a big bright smile, then told me he was her son Mike.
Then there were her sons Cyrus and Joe and Tyrone. Every man on that porch was her son; so was nearly every man that walked in the store. Pretty soon, I’d counted fifteen sons and said, “Wait a minute. She’s got fifteen kids ?” “Oh! ” Mike yelled. “You don’t know Mama Speed, do you?!
Oooh, I look up to Mama- she tough! She keep Turners Station in line, boy! She fears no man ! ” The men on the porch all nodded and said, “That’s right. ” “Don’t you get scared if anybody come in here try to attack Mama when we’re not around, ” Mike said, “cause she’ll scare them to death! ” Speed’s sons let out a chorus of am ens as Mike told a story, saying, “This man came in the store once yellin. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks PDF Book Download
‘I’m gonna come cross that counter and get you.’ I was hidin behind Mama I was so scared! And do you know what Mama did ? She rocked her head and raised up them arms and said, ‘Come on! Come onnnnnn! If you think you crazy, you just try it! ‘ ” Mike slapped me on the back and all the sons laughed.
At that moment, Courtney Speed appeared at the bottom of the steps, her long black hair piled loose on her head, strands hanging in wisps around her face, which was thin, beautiful, and entirely ageless. Her eyes were soft brown with a perfect halo of sea blue around the edges . She was delicate, not a hard edge on her.
She hugged a grocery bag to her chest and whispered, ” But did that man jump across that counter at me ?” Mike screamed and laughed so hard he couldn’t answer. She looked at him, calm and smiling. “I said, Did that man jump?” “No, he did not ! ” Mike said, grinning. “Mama, ” Keith said, ” Pastor brought this woman in here. She’s Miss Rebecca and she’s here to talk to you. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks PDF Book Download
” Courtney Speed smiled a beautiful, almost bashful smile, her eyes bright and motherly. ” God bless you, sweetie,” she said. Inside, flattened cardboard boxes covered most of the floor, which was worn from years of foot traffic. Shelves lined each wall, some bare, others stacked with Wonder Bread, rice, toilet paper, and pigs’ feet.
On one, Speed had piled hundreds of editions of the Baltimore Sun dating back to the 197os, when her husband died. She said she’d given up replacing the windows each time someone broke in because they’d just do it again. She’d hung handwritten signs on every wall of the store: one for ” Sam the Man Snowballs, ” others for sports clubs, church groups, and free GED and adult literacy classes.
She had dozens of ” spiritual sons, ” who she treated no different than her six biological sons. And when any child came in to buy chips, candy, or soda, Speed made them calculate how much change she owed themthey got a free Hershey’s kiss for each correct answer. Speed started straightening the items on her shelves so each label faced out, then yelled over her shoulder at me. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks PDF Book Download
” How did you find your way here ?” I told her about the four maps, and she threw a box of lard onto the shelf. “Now we got the four-map syndrome,” she said. “They keep trying to push us off the earth, but God won’t let them. Praise the Lord, he brings us the people we really need to talk to.” She wiped her hands on her white shirt.
“Now that He brought you here, what can I do for you?” ” I’m hoping to learn about Henrietta Lacks,” I said. Courtney gasped, her face suddenly ashen. She took several steps back and hissed, “You know Mr. Cofield ? Did he send you?” French researchers had discovered that when cells were infected with certain viruses in culture, they clumped together and sometimes fused.
When they fused, the genetic material from the two cells combined, as with sperm meeting egg. The technical name for this was somatic cell fusion, but some researchers called it “cell sex.” It was different from sperm-and-egg sex in several important ways : somatic cells were cells of the body, like skin cells, and their union produced offspring every few hours. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks PDF Book Free
Perhaps most important, cell sex was entirely controlled by researchers. Genetically speaking, humans are terrible research subjects . We’re genetically promiscuous – we mate with anyone we choose – and we don’t take kindly to scientists telling us who to reproduce with. Plus, unlike plants and mice, it takes us decades to produce enough offspring to give scientists much meaningful data.
Since the mid- 1 8oos, scientists had studied genes by breeding plants and animals in specific ways -a smooth pea with a wrinkled one, a brown mouse with a white one – then breeding their offspring to see how genetic traits passed from one generation to the next. But they couldn’t study human genetics the same way.
Cell sex solved that problem, because it meant researchers could combine cells with any traits they wanted and study how those traits were passed along. In 1 965 two British scientists, Henry Harris and John Watkins, took cell sex an important step further. They fused HeLa cells with mouse cells and created the first human-animal hybrids – cells that contained equal amounts of DNA from Henrietta and a mouse. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks PDF Book Free
By doing this, they helped make it possible to study what genes do, and how they work. In addition to the HeLa-mouse hybrid, Harris fused HeLa with chicken cells that had lost their ability to reproduce. ” Can you tell me what my mama’s cells really did ?” he whispered. “I know they did something important, but nobody tells us nothing, ” When I asked if he knew what a cell was.
He stared at his feet as if I’d called on him in class and he hadn’t done his homework. ” Kinda, ” he said. “Not really. ” I tore a piece of paper from my notebook, drew a big circle with a small black dot inside, and explained what a cell was, then told him some of the things HeLa had done for science, and how far cell culture had come since.
” Scientists can even grow corneas now, ” I told him, reaching into my bag for an article I’d clipped from a newspaper. I handed it to him and told him that, using culturing techniques HeLa helped develop, scientists could now take a sample of someone’s cornea, grow it in culture, then transplant it into someone else’s eye to help treat blindness. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks PDF Book Free
” Imagine that, ” Lawrence said, shaking his head. ” It’s a miracle !” Suddenly, Sonny threw open the screen door, yelling, “Miss Rebecca still alive in here ?” He leaned in the doorway between the kitchen and living room. ” Looks like you passed the test, ” he said, pointing at my halfempty plate. “Miss Rebecca telling me about our mother cells,” Lawrence said.
“She told me fascinating stuff. Did you know our mother cells gonna be used to make Stevie Wonder see ?” ” Oh, well, actually, it’s not her cells being put into people’s eyes,” I said, stammering. ” Scientists are using technology her cells helped develop to grow other people’s corneas .”
“That’s a miracle, ” Sonny said. “I didn’t know about that, but the other day President Clinton said the polio vaccine is one of the most important things that happened in the twentieth century, and her cells involved with that too.” The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks PDF Book Free