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Roanoke, Virginia, to Honor Henrietta Lacks with New Statue

HeadlineDec 22, 2022

In Virginia, a life-size bronze statue of Henrietta Lacks — the Black mother whose cells were taken without her consent in 1951 and used in medical research and treatments — will be placed in a plaza next year in her hometown of Roanoke. The plaza was previously named after the Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Lacks’s cells, known as “HeLa” cells, led to groundbreaking treatments for HIV/AIDS, cancer and other illnesses. This is Ron Lacks, the grandson of Henrietta Lacks, speaking at a press conference to unveil the statue design.

Ron Lacks: “This historic moment, occasion, has been a long time coming. And I want to thank Vice Mayor Trish White-Boyd and the foundation, because they were the first ones to ever reach out to the Lacks family, before starting this project. And this means a lot to my family.”

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