Aug 31 Mon

A Conversation with Rebecca Skloot, Author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

06:00PM - 07:30PM

Join American University Washington College of Law
for a conversation with Rebecca Skloot, author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

Introduction by AU President Sylvia Burwell and WCL Acting Dean Robert Dinerstein.

Joining the discussion are:

  • Lisa Taylor, Assistant Dean of Diversity, Inclusion, and Affinities
  • Lindsay Wiley, Professor of Law and Director of the Health Law & Policy Program
  • Asha Scielzo, Associate Director of the Health Law & Policy Program
Monday, August 31st, 2020
6pm - 7:30pm

Discussion, followed by audience Q&A session.
Free event, but registration is required.
Zoom link is provided in registration confirmation.

Bestselling author Rebecca Skloot, spent more than ten years doggedly uncovering the truth about the life, death, and ultimate “immortality” of a poor Black tobacco farmer named Henrietta Lacks. Her phenomenal book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks has sold nearly 3 million copies to date.

In The Immortal Life, Skloot tells the story of a young Black woman who died of cervical cancer in 1951—and left behind an inexplicably immortal line of cells known as HeLa. Henrietta’s cells—harvested without her knowledge or consent—contributed to scientific advancements as varied as the polio vaccine, treatments for cancers and viruses, in-vitro fertilization, and the impact of space travel on human cells. The Immortal Life is also the story of Henrietta’s descendants, the Lacks family, some of whom were used in research without their consent and none of whom have ever benefited from the commercialization of HeLa cells, even though those cells have helped biotech companies make millions of dollars. Part detective story, part scientific odyssey, and part family saga, The Immortal Life raises haunting yet urgent questions about race, class, autonomy, and bioethics in America.


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