Being Henrietta

Date and Time: 
Monday, November 4, 2013 - 7:00pm
Shannon Center
Event Description: 

Dramatic reading of Being Henrietta starring Monique Gaffney.

Henrietta Lacks was a black tobacco farmer from Clover, Virginia and mother of five. While undergoing treatment for cervical cancer in 1951, doctors discovered that Henrietta’s tissue cells were unique in that they were able to replicate infinitely. Her cells, now known as HeLa, continue to thrive and are still used today in medical and scientific research all over the world.

Being Henrietta links bioethics with African American history and art. It explores the ethical implications of biological research and its applications in medicine by uncovering the parallels and differences between medical cases in African American history. It also explores the theme of human experimentation on black women. The powerful story of Henrietta Lacks allows a closer examination of the evolution of bioethical issues of informed consent, human subject clinical trials, tissue ownership and immortality. 

Free admission to Whittier College students, faculty, and staff.

For more information, contact Kay Sanders at 562.907.4405 or

Special thanks to the following organizations and individuals for making the Whittier production of Being Henrietta possible: Residential Life Office; Garrett and Hartley Faculty Master Houses; Charlotte Borst, Dean of Faculty; Associated Students of Whittier College; Black Student Union; First Year Programs; Cultural Center; and Dean of Students’ Office.