Study Guide

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Characters

By Rebecca Skloot

Henrietta Lacks

Most of what we know about Henrietta is basic stuff. She lost her mother when she was four and...

Deborah "Dale" Lacks

While big bro Lawrence may be the "Big Kahuna" of the Lacks family, the will and power to uncover...

David "Day" Lacks

David lacks is the Henrietta's first cousin and the father of her children. They shared a bedroom...

Zakariyya Bari Abdul Rahman (born Joe Lacks)

Zakariyya is the fifth and youngest of Henrietta's children. After the death of his mother, Baby...

Elsie Lacks (born Lucille Elsie Pleasant)

Henrietta and Day's second child is little more than a few pictures in the Lacks family memory....

Bobbette Lacks

We can't help cheering when Lawrence's wife, Bobbette, insists that they take in and raise the...

Lawrence Lacks

Lawrence is the guy you want on your side: he's the big brother who has good stories to tell...

David Jr. "Sonny" Lacks

We don't see very much of Sonny in the book. Though he's Skloot's most solid contact with the...

Sadie and Margaret Sturdivant

These ladies are Henrietta's cousins and her confidantes. It's to Sadie and Margaret that...

Gladys Lacks

Although Gladys isn't emotionally close to her sister Henrietta, she does believe in family. And...

Gary Lacks

Deborah's charismatic cousin (Gladys' son) provides spiritual comfort for Deborah when she's...

Ethel and Galen

If George Gey is the villain for the Lacks family on the scientific side of things, Ethel and...

Hector "Cootie" Henry

Henrietta's cousin is the first of the Lacks Town family members that Skloot meets in 1999 when...

Rebecca Skloot

On her website, Rebecca Skloot tells readers that she never intended to wind up as a character in...

George and Margaret Gey

George Gey was the head of tissue culture at Johns Hopkins when Henrietta was being treated for...

Mary Kubicek

Mary Kubicek may not have been as eccentric or as brilliant as her boss George Gey, but this lab...

Howard Jones

Jones is the gynecologist who first reviews Henrietta's medical history and examines her tumor,...

Victor McKusick

Victor McKusick was a geneticist who worked at Johns Hopkins and worked with blood samples taken...

Christoph Lengauer

Lengauer is our science superhero. His respect in reaching out to the family—of meeting...

Courtney "Mama" Speed

When Rebecca Skloot finally finds Speed's Grocery in Turner Station, she learns of Courtney...

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