“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Clover in Halifax County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Henrietta Lacks


Henrietta Lacks Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, June 15, 2013
1. Henrietta Lacks Marker
Inscription.  Born in Roanoke on 1 Aug. 1920, Henrietta Pleasant lived here with relatives after her mother’s 1924 death. She married David Lacks in 1941 and, like many other African Americans, moved to Baltimore, Md. for wartime employment. She died of cervical cancer on 4 Oct. 1951. Cell tissue was removed without permission (as usual then) for medical research. Her cells multiplied and survived at an extraordinarily high rate, and are renowned worldwide as the “HeLa line,” the “gold standard” of cell lines. Jonas Salk developed his polio vaccine with them. Henrietta Lacks, who in death saved countless lives, is buried nearby.
Erected 2010 by Department of Historic Resources. (Marker Number U-53.)
Location. 36° 49.037′ N, 78° 44.143′ W. Marker is in Clover, Virginia, in Halifax County. Marker is at the intersection of James D Hagood Highway (U.S. 360) and Guill Town Road (Virginia Route 720), on the right when traveling east on James D Hagood Highway. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Clover VA 24534, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles
US 360 (facing east) image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, June 15, 2013
2. US 360 (facing east)
of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Battle of Staunton River Bridge (approx. 4.9 miles away); Staunton River State Park (approx. 5 miles away); Roanoke Station (approx. 5.7 miles away); Wilson-Kautz Raid (approx. 5.7 miles away); Salem School (approx. 6.4 miles away); Nathaniel Terry's Grave (approx. 7.6 miles away); Wylliesburgh (approx. 8.2 miles away); War of 1812 Opposition — John Randolph (approx. 8.3 miles away).
Categories. African AmericansScience & Medicine
Henrietta Lacks (HeLa): The Mother of Modern Medicine image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, June 28, 2018
3. Henrietta Lacks (HeLa): The Mother of Modern Medicine
This 2017 portrait of Henrietta Lacks (1920-1951) by Kadir Nelson hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.

“Henrietta Lacks, whose great-great-grandmother was enslaved, died of cervical cancer at age thirty-one. Upon her death, doctors discovered that cells from her body lived long lives and reproduced indefinitely in petri dishes. These ‘immortal’ HeLa cells have since contributed to over 10,000 medical patents relating to polio, AIDS, Parkinson's disease, and other conditions.

Considering the history of medical testing on African Americans without their consent, the fate of Lacks’s cells raises questions about ethics, privacy, and race. By addressing these issues forthrightly in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (2010), author Rebecca Skloot prompted Oprah Winfrey and HBO to make a film on the subject.

Kadir Nelson's portrait of Lacks uses visual elements to convey her legacy. The wallpaper features the ‘Flower of Life,’ a symbol of immortality. The pattern of her dress recalls cellular structures, and the garment's missing buttons signal the absence of those cells that were taken from her body, without permission.” – National Portrait Gallery
More. Search the internet for Henrietta Lacks.
Credits. This page was last revised on December 31, 2018. This page originally submitted on June 16, 2013, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 427 times since then and 24 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on June 16, 2013, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.   3. submitted on December 29, 2018, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.
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