The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Questions and Answers
by Rebecca Skloot

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks book cover
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Why did Henrietta leave Clover? What inspired her to do so?

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Although Henrietta Lacks was born in Roanoke, Virginia, she moved to Clover in Fairfax County at a young age after her mother passed away. Her father couldn't cope with raising his large family, so he sent Henrietta and her siblings to Clover, where they were farmed out among relatives.

Life in Clover was hard for Henrietta. In common with many African Americans in rural Virginia, she worked on the tobacco plantations. Working on the plantations forced Henrietta to grow up very quickly, especially after she became a teenage mother. She subsequently married the father of her children, Day, and not long afterwards, a cousin persuaded Henrietta and her husband to move to Maryland for a better life. The state was home to a large steel-mill, the Bethlehem Steel Plant in Sparrow's Point, and Day would be able to find work there.

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