The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

This topic guide was created for anyone reading the 2011 University of Mississippi's Common Reading Experience book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Find databases, books, websites, and other tools related to topics in the book.


UM Library Databases (for articles)

Use keywords such as HeLa or Henrietta Lacks or Rebecca Skloot to uncover various scholarly or popular articles in the following databases:

Academic Search Premier - A fulltext database spanning academic disciplines with coverage of popular press and scholarly publications, including peer-reviewed journals.

MEDLINE (via PubMed) - National Library of Medicine's premier bibliographic database covering the fields of medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, the health care system, and the preclinical sciences.

Biological Abstracts - Collection of bibliographic references covering life science and biomedical research literature published from more than 4,000 journals internationally.

Newspaper Source - Provides cover-to-cover full text for more than 40 U.S. and international newspapers, regional U.S. newspapers, television and radio news transcripts. 


News & Articles

Henrietta Lacks Receives Honorary Degree by All Things Considered, NPR, May 23, 2011

Henrietta Lacks and the Giant Chicken Heart by Ben Steelman, Star News Online, April 17, 2011

Immortal Cells, Enduring Issues by Dale Keiger, John Hopkins Magazine, June 2, 2010. 

Henrietta's Grave Gets a Headstone, May 29, 2010

Health-Care Injustice by Allison Samuels,, February 16, 2010. 

Henrietta Lacks' Immortal Cells by Sarah Zielinski,, January 22, 2010.

The Way We Were by Louise Cavagnaro with Anne Bennett Swingle,, September 2004. 

Wonder Woman: The Life, Death, and Life After Death of Henrietta Lacks, Unwitting Heroine of Modern Medical Science by Van Smith,, April 17, 2002. 



Rebecca Skloot's HeLa Flickr Slideshow To view the captions to these images, click "Show Info" in the upper right corner. 

HeLa Cells Dividing Over 27 Hours (54 sec) Watch HeLa cells grow!

Henrietta Lacks Was Never Compensated for Cells (video is 2:34) ABC News, January 31, 2010. 

Henrietta's Tumor (podcast is 26 minutes) Radiolab Season 7:  Episode 4: Famous Tumors, WNYC, New York Public Radio. 

The Way of All Flesh (video is 53 minutes) This is the BBC program by Adam Curtis referred to in the book. 


UM Library Books

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Six copies on the 1st floor of the J.D. Williams Library (RC265.6.L24 S55 2011), and two copies at the Reserve Desk. Read Rebecca Skloot's nationwide bestseller and join the UM Common Reading Experience!

American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass Douglas S. Massey and Nancy A. Denton's major contribution to our understanding of both racism and poverty.

Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to Present Harriet A. Washington's groundbreaking study documents incidents where African-Americans have been unwitting or unwilling human guinea pigs in a long, continuing history of the American medical establishment. 

Private Bodies, Public Texts: Race, Gender, and a Cultural Bioethics Karla F.C. Holloway's book on the social construction of personal identity, with special focus on gender and racial categorizations in biomedical ethics. Discusses Henrietta Lacks.

Factors Related to Deviant Health-Care Practices: A Study of Black Families in the Mississippi Delta Thesis written in 1979 by Jimmie Franklin Barnes, Jr. in Special Collections. 

Bad Blood: The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment James H. Jones' book was turned into a stageplay and later developed for the 1997 movie "Miss Evers' Boys". 

Examining Tuskegee: The Infamous Syphilis Study and Its Legacy (E-Book) Susan Reverby's comprehensive analysis of the notorious study of untreated syphilis, which took place in and around Tuskegee, Alabama, from the 1930s through the 1970s.

A Conspiracy of Cells: One Woman's Immortal Legacy and the Medical Scandal it Caused. Michael Gold's book about Henrietta Lacks and HeLa cells.  


Other Books

Uninsured in America: Life and Death in the Land of Opportunity. Susan Starr Sered and Rushika Fernandopulle provide a troubling look at Americans without health insurance by interviewing more than 120 uninsured people in Texas, Mississippi, Idaho, Illinois, and Massachusetts as well as physicians, administrators, and health-policy officials. 


Citation Help

University Libraries' Facebook page Just type in the title of any book in the world using the CiteMe app to instantly retrieve citations in APA, Chicago, or MLA styles.

The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University provides THOROUGH examples and details on everything APA, MLA, and Chicago styles. Includes a sample MLA paper and Works Cited page as well as a sample APA paper.

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