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Race and Science: Teaching ‘The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks’

October 19, 2017 @ 04:30 PM - 07:00 PM

In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman, died of cervical cancer in a public, segregated Baltimore hospital. Without her knowledge, doctors removed some of her tumor cells, which they soon discovered could thrive in a lab - something no human cells had done previously. Join us for an after-school workshop that will introduce you to strategies and resources for setting the historical context of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and for facilitating discussions with your students about the complicated ethical contradictions of this story. We will consider the question of how race and class impacted the decision to take and use Henrietta’s cells and others raised in Facing History’s Race and Membership resource on the history of the ideas and practices that emerged from the eugenics era in the first part of the 20th century.


Open Books
651 W Lake
Chicago, IL 60661


Facing History and Ourselves