Born in Roanoke on 1 Aug. 1920, Henrietta Pleasant lived here with relatives after her mother’s 1924 death. She married David Lacks in 1941 and, like many other African Americans, moved to Baltimore, Md. for wartime employment. She died of cervical cancer on 1 Oct. 1951. Cell tissue was removed without permission (as usual then) for medical research. Her cells multiplied and survived at an extraordinarily high rate, and are renowned worldwide as the “HeLa line,” the “gold standard” of cell lines. Jonas Salk developed his polio vaccine with them. Henrietta Lacks, who in death saved countless lives, is buried nearby.
Date Approved by DHR: 09/30/10
Year On Marker: 2010
Original Sponsor: Department of Historic Resources
Geographic Location: Halifax County
Physical Description of Location: Southwest corner of intersection between US 360 (James D. Hagwood Highway) and Virginia 92 (Clover Road), Scottsburg, VA 24589. Marker is on right when traveling east on US 360.
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