The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

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Chapter 10 Summary


Soon after her trip to Turner Station, Rebecca drove to Clover, Virginia. There she found a run-down main street full of closed-up shops whose dust-covered merchandise could be seen through the windows. There were some churches, beauty parlors, and one post office still in occasional use—but all were locked when Rebecca arrived. She saw nobody at all except for an old white man with a bicycle who waved hello. She stopped and asked him to direct her to Lacks Town, where Henrietta had grown up. He silently pointed her in the right direction.

As it turned out, Lacks Town was a single road sparsely populated with tiny homes—cabins left over from the slave era, cinderblock shacks, and mobile home trailers. Rebecca drove up and down this road, unsure how to approach the people who lived here. After several trips back and forth, she was flagged down by an old man who asked if she was lost.

When Rebecca asked about Henrietta, the old man said he was her cousin. His name was Hector Henry, but everyone had called him Cootie ever since he had polio as a child. When he was a boy, there was a polio outbreak, but all the iron lungs were in hospitals for white patients. Cootie's...

(The entire section is 431 words.)