In the portrait, Lacks is depicted wearing pearls. That’s a reference to her illness—according to doctor reports at the time, Henrietta’s tumor looked like pearls. But they can be interpreted through all sorts of different lenses. “Pearls seem like it’s classy, just a test of time—and that’s what she was, she was classy,” Kimberly Lacks, Henrietta’s granddaughter, told NPR. “I just think it’s amazing. A great representation of our grandmother.”

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