Outline Of Text

(Note: All page numbers below are from Rebecca Skloot’s Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks)

Family & Community

  1. Cast of characters (for immediate & extended family, see the Cast of Characters below, pp.329-332; for members of the medical & scientific community, see pp.331-332). book

  2. Names of Communities & Neighborhoods (for Virginia, see Clover, Lacks Town, Roanoke, & South Boston; for Maryland, see Baltimore, Crownsville, Fells Point, John Hopkins, Sparrows Point, & Turner Station).
    1. Maryland (Baltimore, Crownsville, Fells Point, Johns Hopkins, Sparrows Point, & Turner Station):
      1. On Baltimore, see for black Baltimore, in Part I (Life), ch.10: The Other Side of the Tracks…1999 (pp.77-82). In Part II (Death), see ch.19: “The Most Critical Time on This Earth Is Now”…1966-1973 (where Rebecca meets Deborah Lacks & her relatives in Baltimore, pp.144-151), & in Part III (Immortality), see ch.21: Night Doctors…2000 (which focuses on Jim Crow Baltimore, including segregated medical practices & policies at Johns Hopkins University in the 1940s & 1950s), pp.158-169, & ch.31: HeLa, Goddess of Death…2000-2001 (which talks about Deborah as a researcher, & discusses Baltimore & the Lackses), pp.256-258.

      2. 2. On Crownsville, Baltimore County, Maryland, see in Part III (Immortality), ch.28: After London…1996-1999 (which talks about Elsie, Henrietta’s older daughter, & Deborah’s older sister) who was committed to a mental institution called Crownsville & Deborah’s obsession with getting a copy of Elsie’s hospital records, including her death there in 1955, pp.230-231, & ch.33: The Hospital for the Negro Insane…2001 (which traces Rebecca & Deborah’s journey to Crownsville Hospital Center—formally known as The Hospital for the Negro Insane—in Baltimore County, Maryland, in order to acquire a copy of Elsie’s hospital records), pp.268-278, along with ch.34: The Medical Records…2001 (pp.279, 281-282 & ch.35: Soul Cleansing (p.288).

      3. 3. Fells Point, Baltimore, ch.29: A Village of Henriettas…2000 (p.233); ch.31: Hela, Goddess of Death…2000-2001 (p.251).

      4. 4. On Johns Hopkins, Baltimore: 1889 JH was founded, see Part I (Life), ch.1: The Exam…1951, p.15, & in Part II (Death), ch.21: Night Doctors…2000 (pp.166-167, & in Part III (Immortality), ch.23: “It’s Alive”…1973-1974 (p.186), ch.28: After London…1996-1999 (p.224-226, 228, 2305ch.29: A Village of Henriettas…2000 (pp.234-6), & Timeline (pp.333-); ch.32: “All That’s My Mother”…2001 (pp.259, 261, 266); ch.37: “Nothing to Be Scared About”…2001 (pp.303).

      5. On Sparrows Point Steel Mills in Baltimore, see in Part I (Life), ch.2: Clover…1920-1942 (pp.25-26), ch.5: “Blackness Be Spreadin All Inside”…1951 ( pp.45-46), ch.9: Turner Station…1999 (p.69), & ch.10: The Other Side of the Tracks…1999 (p.83).
      6. On Turner Station, Baltimore, see Part I (Life), ch.9: Turner Station…1999 (Baltimore), pp.67-76. Also, in Part II (Death), see ch.15: “Too Young to Remember”…1951-1965 (Turner Station, Baltimore, Maryland), pp.110-117, & in Part III (Immortality), see ch.28: After London…1996-1999 (which discusses the BBC’s early documentary on Henrietta Lacks, HeLa cells, interviews with Deborah & other Lacks members moving to Turner Station in Baltimore in the 1940s, pp.218-229, & ch.30: Zakariyya…2000 (which focuses on interviews with Deborah and her kin in Turner Station), pp.241-249.

    2. Virginia (Clover, Lacks Town, Roanoke, & South Boston):
      1. On Clover, Virginia, see Part I (Life), ch.2: Clover…1920-1942 which covers the background on Henrietta Lacks’s early childhood in Virginia), pp.18-26. In Part II (Death), see ch 15: “Too Young to Remember”…1951-1965 (which discusses summers working in the tobacco fields of Clover, Virginia), pp.110-112, & 116), & ch.16: “Spending Eternity in the Same Place”…1999 (which discusses the family gravesite in Lacks Town, Clover, Virginia), pp.118-126. In Part III (Immortality), see ch.23: “It’s Alive”…1973-1974 (p.181), ch.28: After London…1996-1999 (which focuses on the BBC’s early documentary on Henrietta Lacks, HeLa cells, interviews with Deborah & other Lacks members in front of the home-house in Clover, Virginia, p.219), & ch.26: Breach of Privacy (p.208) & ch.29: A Village of Henriettas…2000 (pp.33: The Hospital for the Negro Insane…2001 (which traces Rebecca & Deborah’s travels to Clover, p.268) & ch.34: The Medical Records…2001 (p.280). And on Rebecca & Deborah’s trip to Clover in 2001, see ch.35: Soul Cleansing…2001 (which looks at Clover, Virginia & preaching spiritual lessons as well as the role of Deborah’s divorced husband, Gary Pullum, pp.286-293), & ch.36: Heavenly Bodies…2001 (pp.294-296). Also in Part III, see on Deborah’s failing health in Clover, ch.37: “Nothing to be Scared About”…2001 (p.297). This chapter examines Deborah’s health problems and issues related to stress; it also talks about the new Lacks children and looks at both family and community in 2001 (great lesson on teaching history, too, p.304). And on Rebecca’s most recent visit back to Clover, see ch.38: The Long Road to Clover…2009 (where she regretfully moans that “Clover was gone” & “Henrietta’s history was vanishing,” pp.305-310). It focuses on the dying town of Clover (which had practically disappeared by the time Rebecca Skloot went there with Deborah in 2009, p.305. Importantly, this chapter also provides information on Henrietta’s early childhood, making it one of the key chapters on family and community.
      2. On Lacks Town, Clover, Virginia, Part I (Life), ch.10: The Other Side of the Tracks…1999 (pp.78-79, 82); & in Part II (Death), ch.16: “Spending Eternity in the Same Place”…1999 (which discusses the family gravesite in Lacks Town, Clover, Virginia), p.123, & ch.19: “The Most Critical Time on This Earth Is Now”…1966-1973 (pp.147ch.21Night Doctors…2000 (p.160). Also see Part III (Immortality), ch.28: After London…1996-1999 (which focuses on the BBC’s early documentary on Deborah & other Lacks members in front of the home-house in Lacks Town, Clover, Virginia, p.219).
      3. On Roanoke, Virginia, see Part I (Life), ch.2: Clover…1920-1942 (notes that Henrietta Lacks was born Loretta Pleasant in Roanoke, Virginia, on August 1, 1920; that no one knows why her name was changed to Henrietta; but also focuses on Henrietta’s parents & their roots, p.18). Also see Part III (Immortality), ch.33: The Hospital for the Negro Insane, p.268 (which notes that Roanoke was the birthplace of Henrietta Lacks).
      4. On South Boston, Virginia, see Part I (Life), ch.2: Clover…1920-1942 (p.21) & see South Boston tobacco auction photo (circa 1920s) inside the book after Part III (Immortality), ch.25: “Who Told You You Could Sell My Spleen?”(p.206)

  3. Black culture, communities, traditions, beliefs, religious views & practices (for an overview of these ideas, see the following parts & chapters: In Part I (Life), ch.2: Clover…1920-1942 (pp.18-26), ch.5: “Blackness Be Spreadin All Inside”…1951 (pp.42-45), ch.9: Turner Station …1999 (pp.69-73, 75-76), ch.10: The Other Side of the Tracks…1999 (pp.77-79), ch.11: “The Devil of Pain Itself”…1951 (pp.83-84). In Part II (Death), ch.15: “Too Young to Remember” (pp.110).
    1. Stories, Memories, & Folklore: p.79-82; ch.16, pp.119-126; ch.21: Night Doctors…2000 (pp.161, 165-169), Part III (Immortality), ch. 23: “It’s Alive”…1973-1974 (pp.180), ch.24: “Least They Can Do”…1975 (pp.192-193), ch.28: After London…1996-1999 (p.218, 221, 224); ch.29: A Village of Henriettas…2000 (pp.232-237); ch.37: “Nothing to Be Scared About”…2001 (great lesson about teaching history, p.304); ch.38: The Long Road to Clover…2009 (pp.305-306, 308-310).
    2. Myths, Fantasies, & Nightmares: In Part III (Immortality), see ch.23: “It’s Alive”…1973-1974 (pp.184-185), ch.24: “Least They Can Do”…1975 (pp.193, 195-196; ch.27: The Secret of Immortality…1984-1995 (pp.213-214); ch.29: A Village of Henriettas…2000 (pp.236-238); ch.30: Zakariyya…2000 (pp.245-247); ch.31: Hela, Goddess of Death…2000-2001 (on fantasies, nightmares, & cloning, pp.254-256).
    3. Faith & Religion: ch16 p.118; Part III (Immortality), ch.26: Breach of Privacy…1980-1985 (pp.207), ch.27: The Secret of Immortality…1984-1995 (pp.213-214), ch.28: After London…1996-1999 (pp.221, 223), ch.29: A Village of Henriettas…2000 (pp.232-233, 236-237); ch.32: “All That’s My Mother”…2001 (pp.259-260; Part III (Immortality), ch.35: Soul Cleansing…2001 (pp.289-293), ch.36: Heavenly Bodies…2001 on Rebecca’s religious experience with Gary Pullum in Clover (pp.295-296); ch.37: “Nothing to Be Scared About”…2001 (pp.302-303); ch.38: The Long Road to Clover…2009 (pp.309-310).
    4. Education/Lack Thereof: Part II (Death), ch.15: “Too Young to Remember” (p.116), ch.19: “The Most Critical Time on This Earth Is Now”…1966-1973 (p.145); ch.37: “Nothing to be Scared About”…2001 (p.298, 302); ch.38: The Long Road to Clover…2009 (p.308).
    5. Crime & Incarceration: Part II (Death), ch.17: Illegal, Immoral, & Deplorable…1954-1966 (pp.128 Ohio State Pennitentiary/Ohio prisons, Dr. Chester Southam (well- respected researcher and chief of virology at Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research), p.129; ch.15 & ch.19 (pp.145-149); Part III (Immortality), ch.23: “It’s Alve”…1973-1974 (pp.185-186, Part III (Immortality), ch.26: Breach of Privacy…1980-1985 (pp.207-209); ch.30: Zakariyya…2000 (pp.241, 243, 247-248.
    6. Breach of Privacy…1980-1985 (pp.207-209); ch.30: Zakariyya…2000 (pp.241, 243, 247-248).
    7. Health Issues, Illnesses, Diseases, Sickness, & Hospitalization: Part III (Immortality), ch.28: After London…1996-1999 (Deborah’s health declines, pp.229-231), ch.34: The Medical Records…2001 (pp.283-285), ch.35: Soul Cleansing…2001 (pp.286-287); ch.36: Heavenly Bodies…2001 (pp.294); ch.37: “Nothing to Be Scared About”…2001 (Deborah’s illness gets worse, pp.297, 299-302); ch.38: The Long Road to Clover…2009 (Gary Pullum’s death, p.306, Cootie’s suicide, p.306, on Sonny’s worsening health, p.306, Deborah’s dying days & death, pp.307-308).
    8. Family Relations, Abuse, Violence, & Drugs: ch.15 & ch.19 (pp.145-149; Part III (Immortality), ch.23: “It’s Alive”…1973-1974 (pp.179-; ch.28: After London…1996-1999 (on 1940s & 1950s, p.221; ch.30: ch.30: Zakariyya…2000 (pp.241-249); ch.38: The Long Road to Clover…2009 (pp.306).

Science & Medical Research

  1. Major works by best scientists
    1. HeLa-related research. George Gey and His Lab (see source citations, pp.346-347). In addition, see the following chapters below:

    2. Anti-HeLa or beyond HeLa. See the following chapters below:

    3. Websites & institutions like Johns Hopkins. See the following chapters below:

    4. State of the art in different fields of research during different decades since the 1920s. For information on these changes, consult the following chapters below:
  2. Ethical Issues and Scientific Research

    1. Contamination issues/legal conflicts; legal problems and developments and new laws and new organizations which are charged with enforcing the stricter regulations. The best chapters for this information are as follows:

    2. Ethical issues/compensation matters. The most important chapters for this information are as follows:

    3. Race-related issues Part III (Immortality), ch.24: “Least They Can Do” (pp.195-197); ch.28: After London…1996-1999 (p.228), ch.30: Zakariyya…2000 (p.248); ch.31: Hela, Goddess of Death…2000-2001 (pp.250)

    4. False starts and failures in scientific research; parallel topics and problems to be compared. For best works in this area of study, see the following chapters:

    5. Cures related to HeLa research and experimentation. The key chapters to turn for these ideas are as follows:
  3. Minor works by other scholars who are not scientists
  4. Journalists & writers: Journalists and Others (p.332). A list of these individuals is provided below. Here are some of the writers who have written on HeLa (pp.339-340): Michael Gold, A Conspiracy of Cells (about the contamination story, pp.339-340). He published details from Henrietta Lacks’s medical records and autopsy report without permission from the Lacks family. Michael Rogers (1976), Rolling Stone article about HeLa (p.340). Reporter who was the first journalist to contact the Lackses. Harriet Washington, Medical Apartheid. She interviewed the Lacks family for a 1994 Emerge article. Ethan Skerry and Lowenstein Sandler. PC—they helped Rebecca Skloot establish the Henrietta Lacks Foundation (they did pro-bono work, p.340). Donald Defler—he introduced Rebecca Skloot to information on Henrietta Lacks (p.340). Hannah Landecker, Culturing Life. She worked with Nathaniel Comfort on HeLa and the history of cell culture (p.340) . Other sources worth consulting: Vincent Racaniello. He communicated importance of providing science to the general public in an accurate and accessible manner. For more on his influence, see his “This Week in Virology” podcasts at T.W.V. tv and his twitter feed @ profvrr (great model for other scientists). Also see David Kroll (Abelpharmboy). He writes about science on his blog, Scienceblogs.com/terrasig.

    1. Science fiction related Part III (Immortality), ch.31: Hela, Goddess of Death…2000-2001 (pp.255-256). Also check the following chapters below:
    2. Films, videos, interviews Part III (Immortality), ch.38: The Long Road to Clover…2009 (p.309-310). See the BBC documentary “The Way of All Flesh” (p.346). For articles about the Lacks family, see “Miracle of HeLa,” Ebony (June 1976); also see “Family Takes Pride in Mrs. Lacks’ Contribution,” Jet (April 1976), p.347. For the paper that first mentioned Henrietta Lacks’ real name, see H. W. Jones, V. A. McKusick, P.S. Harper, and K.D. Wuu, “George Otto Gey (1889-1970): The HeLa Cell and a Reappraisal of Its Origin,” Obstetrics and Gynecology 38, no.6 (December 1971); and J. Douglas, “Who Was HeLa?” Nature 242 (March 9, 1973); J. Douglas, “HeLa,” Nature 242 (April 20, 1973), and B. J. C., “HeLa (for Henrietta Lacks),” Science 184, no.4143 (June 21, 1974). Afterword, pp.315-347. pp.365-366.

Society & Racism

  1. Jim Crow South in Virginia & Maryland, Part III (Immortality), ch.33: The Hospital for the Negro Insane…2001 (pp.268-276)
  2. Cold War & Ideological Conflicts. On the shared research, including HeLa research relations between the USSR and the USA, see the following chapters.
  3. Changing Race Relations Over Time. This material can be gleaned most clearly by turning to the following chapters and the Afterward.