The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The 2015 Williams Reads book was The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, the story of a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells were taken without her knowledge in 1951 and became vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, and more. Henrietta Lacks’ cells have been bought and sold for billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can’t afford health insurance. The Gaudino fund co-sponsored much of the programming around the book, including a campus visit by two Lacks family members in February, where they met with students and held a public conversation with over 450 people in attendance. A short video clip with excerpts from the conversation can be found here.