Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
UMW Libraries
Simpson Library | Special Collections

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks: The story

UMW's Common Read 2015-2016

This guide is from 2015, and is no longer being maintained. Some of its information is outdated and some of its links are broken.

Henrietta's story

Henrietta Lacks

A good summary of Henrietta Lacks's story can be found in the article "Henrietta's Dance." Rebecca Skloot wrote this article for Johns Hopkins Magazine in 2000, ten years before the publication of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

Newspaper articles

Magazine and journal articles

The Congressional Record

Crownsville State Hospital

In Chapter 33 of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Deborah Lacks and Rebecca Skloot visit Crownsville State Hospital, the former Hospital for the Negro Insane, where Elsie Lacks was held until her death.


The Way of All Flesh
A documentary film created by BBC producer Adam Curtis in the late 1990s. Rebecca Skloot says that, because of this film, Deborah Lacks referred to periods in her life as "before London" and "after London".


The Gift of Immortal Cells
Broadcast on CBS Sunday Morning on March 16th, 2010.


Henrietta Lacks Was Never Compensated for Cells
Broadcast on World News Tonight (ABC News) on January 31st, 2010.


Henrietta's Tumor
From the NPR radio show Radiolab.


'Henrietta Lacks': A Donor's Immortal Legacy
Terry Gross interviews Rebecca Skloot for the NPR program Fresh Air


Rebecca Skloot, 'The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks'
An interview with Rebecca Skloot for the program Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane.


Seeking Henrietta
Rebecca Skloot talks to The Scientist magazine about the Lacks family.

Subject Guide

Profile Photo
Peter Catlin

The story continues

In 2013, three years after the publication of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, scientists succesfully sequenced the genome of the HeLa cell and published the entire genome online.

They did not ask permission from the Lacks family.

After months of discussion, the Lacks family agreed to a deal that would allow limited use of the HeLa genome while still maintaining their genetic privacy.