The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
by Rebecca Skloot
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is the book chosen by RCC to be read by students, faculty and staff. Even if the book is not incorporated into a classroom curriculum, we recommend that all students read the book and participate in campus-wide discussion with other students, faculty and staff. Please take part in the discussion to help create a unified campus. We look forward to your ideas, thoughts, and questions!
About the Book
The book that Roxbury Community College has chosen for the first One Book, One Campus selection is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. This book is about Henrietta Lacks, a young, African-American mother of five, who died at the age of 31 in 1951 of an unusually aggressive form of cervical cancer. During the operation to remove her tumor, her doctor removed a sample of the cancerous tumor without her knowledge or consent. Those cells, which mysteriously never died, have been used over the past sixty-one years in research that resulted in a cure for polio and a myriad of other scientific discoveries that would not have been possible without research using HeLa cells, as they came to be known. This story is about Henrietta’s children, as well as about those scientists and pharmaceutical companies who used her cells to make millions. Henrietta’s story came to light because a 16-year old, disaffected student, who learned about HeLa in her community college biology class, was inspired to become a scientist because of Henrietta’s story. To learn more, click Book Resources on the menu on the left.