Importance Of Jim Crow Laws In The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks

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In the early 1900’s, African Americans were faced with Jim Crow laws that created racial segregation in the United States, specifically the southern states. In The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot, the protagonist, Henrietta was deprived of equal medical, legal, and educational services. The new historicism theory illustrates how African Americans were not given equal opportunities to medical attention, legal action and educational services needed as a result of Jim Crow laws. Henrietta is not given proper medical treatment because Jim Crow laws prevent her from receiving the treatment she needs. Henrietta noticed that she was unwell, and sought out her friends before seeking professional treatment, “‘I got a knot on my …show more content…
Henrietta waited a whole year before even confronting a doctor because she did not feel comfortable telling a doctor. The doctors did not give Henrietta the time and treatment that was necessary for her. “So when the nurse called Henrietta from the waiting room, she led her through a single door to a colored-only exam room-one in a long row of rooms divided by clear glass walls that let nurses see from one to the next” (Skloot 15). African American patients were not treated with the same respect as the white patients; the glass dividers are a symbol of how African American patients lacked privacy in their segregated rooms. They were also not given the same treatment that the white people were given. When Henrietta informed the doctors of her sickness, they were not inclined to believe or treat her because they saw how Henrietta's …show more content…
Jim Crow laws prohibited African Americans from an equal chance for education, so many did not go to school. Few schools accepted them, and the few that did were not at the same caliber as the ones that the white kids went to,“‘Dang!’ she yelled. ‘Now you tell me! When I started asking him questions about them tests and my mother’s cells, he just handed me a copy of this book, patted me on the back, and send me home.’ She reached over, flipped the book open, and pointed. ‘He autographed it for me,’ she said, rolling her eyes. ‘Would have been nice if he’d told me what the damn thing said too’” (Skloot 239). Henrietta was not able to read because she did not go to school to get an education because she had to work in the tobacco fields so she could provide for her family. She was not given the nicest housing at the tobacco plant because black people did not get to stay in the same house as the white people and they did not get paid as much even though they were doing the harder jobs and less desirable jobs. Henrietta was not educated and this was affected also by the color of her skin and under Jim Crow laws the African Americans were not able to be educated and if they were they did not get a very good education.“Because Day was working two jobs, Lawrence dropped out of school and spent most of his time taking care of his brothers and Deborah” (Skloot 110). Henrietta’s kid’ were not motivated

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