HALIFAX COUNTY, Va. (WSET) — Two organizations in Halifax County are hoping to erect a statue of an influential Black woman.
The Halifax County NAACP and One Community want to get permission from the Halifax County Board of Supervisors to erect a statue of Henrietta Lacks. They hope to place the statue on the Halifax County Courthouse lawn.
Halifax County NAACP President Barbara Coleman-Brown hopes this statue will lead to inclusivity within the county.
"We need to change the conversation in this county from one of how divided we can be to how unified we can become," she said.
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A doctor used Henrietta Lacks' cells without her consent for scientific research. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, Lacks visited John Hopkins Hospital for complications and doctors later found a tumor on her cervix. Doctors took a sample of her cells and discovered her cells doubled where others would die.
Her cells, named "HeLa" cells, have impacted medical research around the world.
They have been used to study the effects of toxins, drugs, hormones and viruses on the growth of cancer cells without experimenting on humans.
Lacks was born in Roanoke and later resided in Clover. She died in 1951.
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Both organizations say a statue of Lacks would represent her impact on the county and the world. Organization leaders will speak to the board of supervisors Monday night at their board meeting in hopes to move the project forward with their permission.
“The lifespan and quality of life of people can be directly traced to her," said Coleman-Brown. "This woman is speaking volumes about equity and justice from the grave.”
The groups are forming a plan on how to fund the project. They hope to complete the project by 2023.