Skip to content

Henrietta Lacks Honored With a Statue In Her Hometown, Replacing Confederate General Robert E. Lee

Henrietta Lacks Honored With a Statue In Her Hometown, Replacing Confederate General Robert E. Lee

Her story will live forever! 

A bronze statue will be placed in Roanoke, Virginia, the birthplace of Henrietta Lacks, ABC News reports. 


Born August 1, 1920, Henrietta Lacks unknowingly paved the way for advancements from HPV and polio vaccines to medications for HIV/AIDS, according to World Health Organization; her "HeLa" cells are still currently being used in research today, such as for COVID-19 response efforts.


We recently reported that the last confederate statue in Richmond, VA was removedThe state has given Ms. Henrietta Lacks her flowers and rightful honor, and a ceremony was held earlier this month. Replacing confederate general Robert E. Lee, the new statue will be placed in what is now Roanoke's Henrietta Lacks Plaza, formerly known as Lee Plaza. 

Her family was in attendance at the ceremony that was held on Monday, December 26th. "This is an honor and a privilege to be here in Roanoke with my father, Lawrence Lacks, Henrietta's oldest and only living child," Lacks' grandson, Ron Lacks, said. "This historical moment, occasion, has been a long time coming."

The artist behind the statue is Bryce Cobbs, who revealed an illustration of the monument; sculptor Larry Bechtel was picked to bring the designs to life. 

Bryce Cobb Meeting The Lacks Family

Attorney Ben Crump was also in attendance and is representing the family in their lawsuit against Thermo Fisher Scientific. Crump said, “I just think it’s so fitting in the state of Virginia … where in the past we commemorated a lot of men with statues that divided us. Now here in Roanoke, Virginia, we will have a statue of a Black woman who brings us all together.” The statue is set to be unveiled in October 2023.

Lacks’ “HeLa” cells were wrongfully taken and used but have transformed the world of medicine as we know it. It is now time to bring honor and healing to the Lacks family! 

Photo: City of Roanoke, Virginia/Facebook/ Ben Birchall - Pa Images/ Getty Images