1912-Alexis Carrel claims to have successfully grown "immortal" chicken heart cells in an effort to develop tissue culture techniques for long-term tissue cultivation. The french surgeon and biologist and his associates, produced and maintained a series of chick heart tissue cultures alive and dividing, at the Rockefeller Institute in New York City from 1912 to 1946.
1920- Henrietta Lacks is born in Roanoke, Virginia.
1951- Dr. George Gey successfully cultures the first immortal human cell line using a sample from the cervical cancer of Henrietta Lacks provided by Dr. Howard Jones. Cell line named HeLa in honor of Henrietta Lacks.
1951- Henrietta Lacks dies of an unusually aggressive strain cervical cancer. She died at Johns Hopkins on October 4, 1951, at the age of 31.
1952- Scientists use HeLa cells to help develop the polio vaccine. Polio is a contagious disease which is caused by an intestinal virus that attacks nerve cells in brain and spinal cord causing paralysis, aches, breathing difficulty.
David drove Henrietta nearly twenty miles to get to Hopkins, not because they preferred it, but because it was the only major hospital for miles that treated black patients. This was the era of Jim Crow—when black people showed up at white-only hospitals, the staff was likely to send them away, even it if meant they might die in the parking lot. ( Page 15)
I chose this passage specifically because it shows when Henrietta arrives at The John Hopkins Hospital, all whilst completely unaware that the cells on her body at the moment were going to end up revolutionizing science for many, many years to come. Not only that but, it can also show the irony that is of the the simpleness and unimportance of a regular black woman in America in the 1950's, which was during some of the prejudice times against African-American and other colored-skinned, ends up doing so much for the entire world contributing to science, mainly in the medicinal fields, more than any person to have ever walked the planet has ever.