Henrietta Lacks Legacy

Improved Essays
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

In order to build a legacy, residues of one's existence must be passed onto future generations for the future population to inherit. The orthodox approach to build a legacy is accomplished through contribution to society. However, as time shifts, society's intuition towards the definition of legacy changes as well. There are various types of legacies, ranging from a pecuniary legacy to a reversionary legacy. In “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot, Henrietta Lacks leaves behind a reversionary legacy, where an artifact is passed on and can be beneficial to others during their lifespan. A person who played a significant role in Henrietta’s Legacy was her daughter, Deborah Lacks. Lacks traveled throughout the country to learn about her mother’s contributions to science. Scientists advanced the research on HeLa cells, refined the public’s knowledge her mother, and displayed the racial prejudice towards black people in hospitals.

As the fourth child of Henrietta Lacks, there was a trait in Deborah that differed from her siblings: she cared about what happened to her mother. For two decades, the family was unaware that their mother’s cells played a major role in the the field of science.
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Rebecca convinced Deborah to give her information about Henrietta. In return, Deborah was given the opportunity to join seminars regarding HeLa cells. Deborah supplied files about her mother to Rebecca which aided Rebecca in writing the book, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.” Under Rebecca’s guidance, she learned about the fate of Elsie, one of Henrietta’s children who died from epilepsy at Crownsville State Hospital, and she learned the whole story behind its immoral research. These trips, led by Skloot, opened Deborah’s eyes about how unfair the world is towards the

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