It's interesting that more stories are starting to surface about Black heroes and heroins post civil rights era. Although Henrietta Lacks was born from parents who were slaves and she died in 1951, 14 years before the defining Civil Rights act of 1965 was passed. The tragic human rights violation wasn't uncovered until 1970 and her family didn't know until 1975.
Henrietta was diagnosed with cancer at John Hopkins Hospital in January 1951 and she died later that year. It was her cells that made her immortal because doctors removed two cervical samples without her knowledge. Unknown if this assisted in her early death at age 31. The cells the doctors removed proved to be durable and able to survive longer than other sample. Dr. George Otto Gey isolated and multiplied the cell creating a cell line. Gey dubbed it "Hela cell line" derived from Henrietta Lacks name and the source.
The "Hela cell line" revolutionized medical research with more Doctors using it for vaccines, cloning her cells and in various projects. Over ten thousand patients involving the Hela cells have been registered.
This is the second screenplay or Henrietta's story. The first was in 1998 a BBC production and now in 2017 pulling Oprah Winfrey backing into acting a lead role.