Newswire: Chicago mayor declares Fred Hampton Day

Fred Hampton

Mayor Brandon Johnson declared August 30th Chairman Fred Hampton Day in the City of Chicago to honor the slain leader of the Chicago Chapter of the Black Panther Party.
Chairman Fred Hampton’s commitment to racial and economic equality was the driving force that fueled his every action.
Around 4:30 a.m. on December 4, 1969, plainclothes officers from the Chicago Police Department armed with shotguns and machine guns kicked down the door of the Chicago apartment where several Black Panther Party members were staying and opened fire on them.
Though the Party members were asleep in their beds at the time and posed no threat, the officers fired over 90 bullets into the apartment, killing Fred Hampton, 21, and Mark Clark, 22—two leaders of the Black Panther Party—and critically wounded four other Party members. Mr. Hampton had been asleep next to his fiancé, who was eight months pregnant when he was killed.
He was murdered by Chicago on December 4, 1969. 
Hampton was born in Summit, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.
“I was honored to join Chairman Fred Hampton’s widow Akua Njeri and son Fred Hampton Jr. on the West Side at a celebration of his life and legacy,” said Mayor Johson.
Free breakfast, medical, and transportation programs for thousands of Black families were the hallmarks of his work as a leader and organize

Newswire : Democrats introduce bill to eradicate solitary confinement, highlighting racial disparities

Woman prisoner in solitary confinement

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

A group of House Democrats is spearheading legislative efforts to dismantle the practice of solitary confinement, a punitive measure that disproportionately affects Black and brown inmates within the American penal system.

Rep. Cori Bush of Missouri, a passionate advocate for criminal justice reform, leads this critical initiative. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Sydney Kamlager-Dove of California, and Jamaal Bowman of New York are among Bush’s colleagues joining the effort. Together, they have introduced groundbreaking legislation to abolish solitary confinement within federal prisons and jails, effectively addressing a glaring issue within the nation’s correctional system.

The proposed legislation does not merely seek to banish this punitive practice; it also aims to institute vital due process safeguards for individuals where solitary confinement is the sole recourse. Further, the bill offers incentives to states, encouraging them to adopt similar legislation at the local level, fostering a more equitable and humane justice system.

Bush minced no words in denouncing the practice of isolating incarcerated individuals, referring to it as a “moral catastrophe.” She underscored the gravity of the situation, citing United Nations experts who have characterized solitary confinement as psychological torture. “This practice is traumatic for people subjected to it, harmful to communities, and alarmingly, it disproportionately impacts Black and brown individuals, young people, LGBTQ+ members, and other marginalized communities,” Bush passionately asserted.

Rep. Bowman echoed Bush’s sentiments, declaring that such a method of imprisonment has no place in the United States. He emphasized the stark reality that harsh practices like solitary confinement directly target marginalized groups, particularly people of color. “We must put an end to this cruel and traumatic form of punishment for the well-being of all,” Bowman insisted.

Rep. Kamlager-Dove expressed her profound disapproval of solitary confinement, likening it to a grave human rights violation that would be condemned in any other context or country. She also emphasized the necessity of treating incarcerated individuals as human beings, mainly if the goal is rehabilitation and significantly reducing recidivism rates.

“If we aspire for those within the penal system to emerge rehabilitated and less likely to re-offend, we must prioritize treating them as individuals deserving of dignity and respect,” Kamlager-Dove stated.

Newswire : The jobless rate for Blacks drops

By Frederick H. Lowe, BlackmansStreet Today


The jobless rate for Blacks dropped, but not far enough to catch up with other ethnic groups.

The August jobless rate for Black men fell to 5.0 percent compared to the seasonally adjusted average in August 2022 to 6.0 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The unemployment rate for Black women was a seasonal adjusted 4.7 percent in August compared with 5.9 percent in August 2022. 

Employment continued to trend up in health care, leisure and hospitality, social assistance, and construction. Employment in transportation and warehousing declined.

The unemployment rate for Blacks compared with Whites, Hispanics, and women was much higher.

The jobless rate for Whites is 3.4 percent, and for Asians is 3.1 percent; the rates for both groups rose in August. The unemployment rate for Hispanic men is 4.3 percent and 4.4 percent for Hispanic women.

The jobless rate for adult women stands at 3.2 percent, for teenagers, 12.2 percent, for Blacks, 5.0 percent, and for Hispanics the rate it was 4.9 percent and 4.3 and 4.4 percent for Hispanic women.

Newswire: Demands for Medicaid expansion increase amid coalition growth, new data

Calls for Medicaid expansion in Alabama continue to gain momentum amid a growing coalition and new research detailing the benefits for Alabama citizens.
The coalition, called Cover Alabama, is a non-partisan alliance of over 100 organizations including consumer groups, businesses, faith groups and health care providers. Cover Alabama is also part of a campaign by Alabama Arise to expand Medicaid and close the coverage gap.

A report by Community Catalyst in collaboration with Cover Alabama last week found that Medicaid expansion would greatly benefit the working class in Alabama and also spur labor force participation.
The report found the following:
“Approximately 300,000 Alabamians are in the coverage gap – they have no affordable health coverage options because policymakers will not expand Medicaid. An additional 61,000 people in Alabama are at risk of ending up in the coverage gap because of the unwinding of COVID-19 pandemic-era Medicaid policies.
Because of centuries of systemic racism and classism, nearly half of those who would gain coverage if Alabama expanded Medicaid are people of color and nearly 60 percent live below the poverty line.
Over half a million workers in the coverage gap were employed in front-line or essential industries, and about 15 percent of adults had a disability.
Medicaid expansion is a proven solution to help people join and stay in the workforce. States that have expanded Medicaid have seen a greater increase in labor force participation among people with incomes below 138 percent of the poverty line than states that have not expanded.”
In response to the report, Debbie Smith, the Cover Alabama campaign director, said that health coverage should be accessible to all Alabamians.
“Every Alabamian should be able to get the medical care they need to survive and thrive,” Smith said. “Removing financial barriers to health care would make our workforce more robust and more productive. It’s time for Alabama policymakers to close the health coverage gap and invest in a healthier future for our state and for our people.”
The report also found that the most common industries that left workers in the coverage gap in Alabama included construction and food services.

Adam Keller, the political coordinator for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), created a resolution for his union to join Cover Alabama and support calling on elected officials to pass Medicaid expansion. Keller said he was inspired because of the stories of his co-workers who skipped medical appointments or fell into medical debt because they had no coverage despite being full-time, middle-class workers and the role labor should play in expanding Medicaid.
“It was a matter of impacting some of our members directly but [Medicaid expansion] would help all of our members indirectly, at the very least, and it’s the right thing to do for working people,” Keller said. “It’s a shame that hundreds of thousands of our neighbors would gain health insurance through this policy. And we have money sitting on the table waiting to be used. And we should do it because it’s the right thing to do. And we need people the highest offices to care about everyday working-class Alabamians. And I think the more of us who use our voice, the louder we are.”
Keller told APR he was able to get the North Alabama Labor Council to join Cover Alabama’s coalition. Keller is currently an organizer with Alabama Arise as well but had already organized the efforts to get the labor movement involved prior to taking on that role.
Although Medicaid appears to be beneficial to working-class people, often many working-class people vote or state their opposition to the policy.
Keller said he thinks those sentiments are due to “divide and conquer tactics” from wealthy elites to distract working-class people along racial, religious and gendered lines.
“The wealthy powerful elites in this state have had a lot of practice, and spent a lot of time and money and energy keeping us divided,” Keller said. “I think through the power of solidarity as people begin to look out for one another and struggle alongside each other to improve each other’s lives. To help out their own families and families of their neighbors, I think that can change folks.”
Keller also sent a letter to Gov. Kay Ivey regarding the passing of the resolution. Ivey would respond by sending a letter to Keller and stating that, “Medicaid expansion in Alabama will continue to be a serious consideration” of hers. However, she indicated that the cost of providing the care was the major concern preventing its adoption as state policy.

Emily Stewart, executive director of Community Catalyst, said: “Health care in America is far too expensive for far too many people, but it doesn’t have to be that way. … This report is further proof of what communities across the state already know: Medicaid works. It’s past time for politicians in Alabama to listen to their constituents and act.”

Newswire : Department of Homeland Security offers community leaders new resources to prepare for extreme temperature events as 17 states experience record breaking heat

Parched earth landscape

NNPA Newswire

With roughly 130 million Americans across 22 states under heat alerts, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are releasing new resources to help communities manage extreme heat, which is growing in intensity due to the climate crisis.
Heat remains the number one weather-related cause of death in the United States and its effects threaten our critical infrastructure. For instance, roadways, runways, and railways can begin to buckle and weaken; large demands on electrical grids and physical impacts of heat on power lines can lead to power outages; and data centers can lose cooling ability. To help communities mitigate damage from extreme temperature events in the years to come, today DHS will begin to distribute a first-of-its-kind resource guide to help state, local, tribal, and territorial officials save lives. The guide advances President Biden’s whole-of-government approach to address climate change and its impacts on our communities, and is a part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to protecting communities from extreme heat.
To encourage officials to use DHS resources and make plans for extreme temperature events, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas and FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell are inviting officials from across the country to a virtual roundtable on August 28. Attendees will hear from community leaders who have successfully implemented extreme heat mitigation projects. Officials interested in attending can RSVP by visiting:
“As extreme heat, worsened by the climate crisis, threatens the lives, safety, and security of communities everywhere, the Biden-Harris Administration is working across all levels of government to ensure communities have resources to protect the public and our nation’s critical infrastructure,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “There are sensible, constructive measures that communities can take to mitigate the impacts of extreme heat. By sharing information, planning ahead with concrete steps, understanding available federal resources, and working together to help the most vulnerable people in their communities, Americans can prepare, adapt, and respond to these weather-related threats to the health, safety, and security of our communities.”
The resource guide and summit are the latest activities of FEMA’s #SummerReady campaign. The campaign helps to mitigate weather-related risks by reaching communities affected by rising temperatures and boosting awareness of the impacts of extreme heat, highlighting straightforward steps individuals and families can take to prepare. FEMA’s official #SummerReady website provides extreme heat safety tips for individuals, as well as helpful information and graphics for media and other stakeholders. also has print, online, and streaming resources to promote preparedness. As part of the #SummerReady campaign, FEMA also hosted webinars for Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grant applicants to assist them with extreme heat projects.
“Communities across the nation are dealing with the consequences of extreme heat events. That’s why FEMA has been leaning forward to help communities get the information they need to build resilience against extreme heat through our #SummerReady initiative. We have hosted a series of webinars to educate communities about the risks of extreme heat and provide information on how FEMA mitigation funding can be used for extreme heat projects,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “We will continue to engage our local, state, tribal and territorial partners to help them prepare for the deadliest climate threat we face – extreme heat.”
The new resource was guided by input from the DHS Climate Change Action Group (CCAG), created in April 2021 by Secretary Mayorkas to advance President Biden’s whole-of-government approach to tackling the climate crisis. The group, co-chaired by Senior Counselor Cass Sunstein and Under Secretary for Strategy, Policy, and Plans Robert Silvers, coordinates efforts among the Department’s nine operational components to better tackle the challenges posed by climate change, which affect DHS operations, plans, business processes, programs, and strategies. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) stated that in 2022, the United States recorded the third hottest summer ever. This followed the 2021 season, which tied records for the hottest summer in the country.
DHS and FEMA offer a range of resources to help communities manage extreme heat, including federal grants. These include efforts to inform people of relevant risks and to offer clear guidance about how to reduce those risks.
•, the web portal for the National Integrated Heat Health Information System, launched by NOAA and FEMA last summer offers tips, information, and resources for state and local officials, and individuals on the impacts of extreme heat. It links to mitigation tools that can assist communities in implementing recommendations in the Resource Guide.
• FEMA’s National Risk Index offers information about multiple risks faced by different communities in the United States, including risks related to extreme heat.
• The Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) grant program helps make communities more resilient to extreme heat. The BRIC program, boosted by President Biden’s bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, also helps communities increase resilience to wildfires, drought, floods, hurricanes and other hazards by preparing before disaster strikes.
To register for the virtual Extreme Heat Summit, visit:

Newswire: $17.5 Billion returned to 200 Million defrauded consumers

By Charlene Crowell

( – This year marks the 12th anniversary of an important consumer protection that sprang as a response to millions of foreclosures and the resulting Great Recession. Today, just as then, all consumers need assurances that whether purchasing goods or services, they pay a fair price. For the first time in our nation’s history, a federal agency’s sole role became dedicated to consumers’ financial protection.  
Since its creation, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has honored its mission by returning a cumulative total of $17.5 billion to 200 million consumers who have been harmed by violations of federal consumer financial protection law. Its Victim Relief Fund, administers the return of hard-earned monies to consumers as cancelled debts, reduced principal, and other illegal transactions.    
A second use of this same fund underwrites costs for consumer education and financial literacy outreach with two distinct constituencies: economically vulnerable consumers who want to improve their approach to money management, and recent veterans who are transitioning from service member to veteran life, as well as military widows and widowers.  
One-on-one financial coaching helps consumers learn how to manage their money more effectively and achieve their financial goals. While gaining key insights on ways to distinguish between useful financial products and frauds, consumers of different cultural, ethnic, racial, and other backgrounds become alert to scams targeted to urban and rural communities.  
Each day the CFPB receives an average of 3,000 complaints. Additionally, the agency reports that 50 million consumers have accessed its web-based database for answers to hundreds of common financial questions.  
But despite these measurable and successful efforts, many of the same organizations that opposed CFPB’s creation over a decade ago have since shifted their goals to weakening the agency in a variety of ways. Recent court filings continue to question whether the agency meets constitutional muster, while others seek to change the agency’s current independent financial status to annual Congressional appropriations. Opponents also want to change the agency’s leadership from a single director to a multi-member commission, curtail the number of businesses subject to its scrutiny, and more.  
In response to these renewed anti-consumer efforts, an 84-member coalition representing civil rights, unions, consumer advocates, antitrust and general public interest groups at the local, state and national levels sent a strong statement of support for CFPB to key committee leaders in the U.S. House and the Senate.   
“Americans see an agency responsibly undertaking the job given to it by Congress: making consumer financial markets fairer and more transparent, putting money back in the pockets of wronged consumers, and policing rules of the road that make the financial system work better for responsible businesses and consumers alike”, wrote the advocates.  
“It has required lenders who break the law to return billions of dollars directly to individuals trying to make ends meet; it is establishing a more level playing field in crucial areas of the market; and it is doing so in an accountable and transparent fashion,” the advocates continued.  
One emerging area of concern for consumers and CFPB is medical debt that impacts over 100 million Americans – accounting for a staggering $433.2 billion of out-of-pocket expenses, according to CFPB.  
“Poor medical billing and collection practices can result in patients delaying or declining needed medical care while they struggle to cope with the financial consequences of the debt burden placed upon them, even when that debt burden derives from predatory pricing, faulty, inaccurate billing, or insurance company runarounds,” noted Rohit Chopra, CFPB’s Director in a July 11 hearing on Capitol Hill. “In fact, consumers report that errors in medical billing and insurance payment are common. Among those with medical debt, more than four in ten say they received an inaccurate bill, and nearly seven in ten say they were asked to pay a bill that should have been covered by insurance.”  
“While medical payment products can offer an enticing promise of cost savings, convenient payment plans and administrative ease for medical providers, our research indicates that in many cases, patients who use these products end up worse off…Our research shows that these payment products have less favorable terms than other general credit products and can land patients with significant amounts of deferred interest. Indeed, over a three-year period, patients paid $1 billion in deferred interest on medical credit cards. This deferred interest isn’t something that’s fair or transparent — people can find themselves hit with large and unexpected interest costs even when they’ve been making payments on the bill all along,” added Chopra.  
For the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL), a nonprofit, non-partisan research and policy advocacy organization that called for CFPB’s creation, and continues to defend the embattled agency, the key difference between the CFPB and its opposition is akin to the difference between right and wrong.  
“The Bureau curbs worst practices, punishes repeat offenders, and creates a stable regulatory environment for consumer finance,” wrote CRL to a subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee. “Inversely, those who stand to benefit from neutering the CFPB peddle in worst practices, break the law repeatedly, and seek to exploit an inconsistent regulatory environment with unsafe products and services.”  
Charlene Crowell is a senior fellow with the Center for Responsible Lending. She can be reached at  

Newwire : Judge sets pre- Super Tuesday trial date for Trump’s election interference case

Federal Judge, Tanya Chutkan

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

In a decision that could significantly impact the 2024 race for the White House, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, overseeing the election interference case against former President Donald Trump, has scheduled the trial to commence on March 4, 2024. The date falls during the Republican presidential primaries and just one day before Super Tuesday.
Chutkan considered arguments presented by both Trump’s legal team and federal prosecutors regarding the optimal trial timing. Special counsel Jack Smith proposed an earlier start in January, with jury selection beginning in December. Trump’s legal representatives countered by advocating for a postponement until April 2026, following the 2024 presidential election.
Judge Chutkan asserted on Monday, addressing the opposing proposals, “These proposals are obviously very far apart. Neither of them is acceptable.” Chutkan emphasized that the trial’s scheduling must prioritize the fair and prompt administration of justice. She noted that the trial schedule wouldn’t be altered based on the professional obligations of another defendant, even if that defendant happened to be a professional athlete.
Trump’s legal team argued that proceeding to trial in the upcoming year would infringe upon the former president’s rights, citing the extensive volume of discovery materials that federal prosecutors have submitted. The four-time indicted, twice impeached ex-president’s lawyer, John Lauro asserted that, “This is a request for a show trial, not a speedy trial. Mr. Trump is not above the law, but he is not below the law.”
Following Chutkan’s ruling, Lauro insisted that Trump’s defense team would not be adequately prepared to represent their client given the set trial date. Earlier, Chutkan deemed the special counsel’s proposed timeline too immediate, but called Trump’s suggested timeline of 2026 unreasonable. “Discovery in 2023 is not sitting in a warehouse with boxes of paper looking at every single page,” Chutkan remarked.
Meanwhile, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee announced that the arraignment for Trump and his co-defendants in the Georgia election case is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on September 6. Trump faces charges of felony racketeering and various conspiracy counts, part of a comprehensive investigation by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis into efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in the battleground state.
Trump and his co-defendants, including his former lawyer Rudy Giuliani, will be arraigned as part of this high-stakes legal proceeding. The sweeping indictment encompasses 41 counts and involves individuals such as Mark Meadows, former White House chief of staff, lawyers John Eastman, Sidney Powell, Kenneth Chesebro, Jenna Ellis, and former Department of Justice official Jeffrey Clark. All defendants are charged with violating Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act, among other alleged offenses.


Newswire : White Jacksonville gunman targets historically Black community, killing three

 Jacksonville Dollar General store

By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

A white man, described as being in his early twenties, went on a shooting spree in Jacksonville, targeting African Americans in a historically Black community and killing three people. The racially motivated shooting inside a Dollar General Store on Saturday, Aug. 26, was reminiscent of the Buffalo Tops Supermarket Shooting in May 2022, where a racist white man murdered ten Black shoppers and injured three others.
As of Monday, authorities identified the shooter as Ryan Christopher Palmeter (21). They said that before the incident, the man had encountered resistance at Edward Waters University, an HBCU blocks from the crime scene. The school reported that the individual, who had been denied entry to the campus, subsequently left without incident. Despite the encounter’s peaceful resolution, the shooter’s intentions soon turned deadly.
Following his expulsion from the university premises, the suspect armed himself with a bulletproof vest and mask before proceeding to the nearby Dollar General store. With an AR-15-style rifle and handgun, he unleashed a barrage of gunfire, first outside the store and then inside, before taking his own life.
Palmeter killed Angela Michelle Carr, 52, Jerrald De’Shaun Gallion, 29, and Amto Joseph Laguerre, Jr., 19, before turning the gun on himself. He murdered Carr in her automobile and Lagueer as he attempted to flee. Gallion was shot as he entered the store. After the shooting, Ju’ Coby Pittman, a Jacksonville City Council Member, wailed that Black people are no longer safe walking down the sidewalk or going into stores.

Law enforcement officials declared the attack racially motivated, as evidence emerged indicating the shooter’s disturbing ideology of hate. There were swastica’s engraved on the AR-15 rifle that the shooter used and he wore a patch from the racist Rhodesian Army , before Rhodesia became Zimbabwe
He left behind written messages that espoused his abhorrent beliefs and utilized racial slurs, revealing a profoundly ingrained hatred against Black individuals. While investigators said they are still trying to comprehend the shooter’s motives and past interactions with law enforcement, it remains evident that this attack was targeted at Black people. “This shooting was racially motivated, and he hated Black people,” Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters said during a hastily called news conference after the shooting.
The tragedy reverberated beyond Jacksonville’s city limits, capturing the attention of both local and federal authorities on the same day that civil rights leaders commemorated the 60th anniversary of the iconic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The FBI initiated a federal civil rights investigation into the incident, classifying it as a hate crime. Sherri Onks, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Jacksonville office, emphasized to reporters the agency’s continued commitment to addressing and preventing racially motivated violence.
The shooting adds to what has been another tragic year of mass shootings. According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been at least 472 mass shootings in the country in 2023. Many have said this has further highlighted the urgent need for comprehensive gun control measures. The pervasive presence of gun violence in everyday settings underscores the necessity of addressing this issue nationally. “This is a dark day in Jacksonville’s history,” Waters remarked. “Any loss of life is tragic, but the hate that motivated the shooter’s killing spree adds an additional layer to the heartbreak.”

Newswire: Sha’Carrie Richardson completes come back with 100-meter victory at World Championship

Richardson winning 100 meter race

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Likely erasing all doubt about her commitment and ability, Sha’Carri Richardson exploded on the outside lane 9 and overcame an early deficit to complete one of the most amazing comebacks in sports.
The flamboyant sprinter won the world championships during an electric 100-meter race in Hungary on Monday, Aug. 21.
The 23-year-old blazed through 100 meters at a career-best 10.65 seconds at the 2023 World Athletic Championships.
She defeated a field that included star Jamaican sprinters Shericka Jackson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who finished second and third, respectively.
The Associated Press noted that the race featured four of the eight fastest runners of all time, including Marie-Josée Ta Lou, who finished fourth.
Richardson, an underdog coming in, became the first American since Tori Bowie in 2017, to win the women’s 100-meter world championship.
The victory was as satisfying as any athlete could experience, as it comes two years after officials booted Richardson from the Tokyo Olympics for testing positive for marijuana.
Immediately after crossing the finish line, Richardson reportedly blew a kiss toward the sky, “cast her eyes on that beautiful scoreboard, and walked toward the stands in a daze to accept the American flag and congratulations from Fraser-Pryce, Dina Asher-Smith of Britain and others.”
“My goal this year is to do what I should have done in these last two years already,” Richardson said before the race.
Immediately after winning, Richardson dropped an exclamation point.
“I’m here, I told y’all,” she declared. “I’m not back, I’m better.”


Newswire: After changing the way medicine is practiced, Henrietta Lacks’ family finally got their money

Henrietta Lacks

Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from BlackMansStreet.Today

( – The descendants of Henrietta Lacks on Tuesday said they reached an agreement with Thermo Fisher Scientific, a company that sold HeLa Cells, taken from Lacks’ body, that was cloned and sold in aggregate for billions of dollars.
The settlement’s details remain confidential, but Lacks’ grandchildren, who were part of the suit, seemed pleased with the agreement. The settlement was announced on what would have been Lacks’ 103rd birthday. She was born on August 2, 1920, and died on October 4, 1951. Lacks was initially buried in an unmarked grave.
“There couldn’t have been a more fitting day for her to have justice, for her family to have relief,” her grandson Alfred Lacks Carter Jr. said. “It was a long fight — over 70 years — and Henrietta Lacks gets her day.”
The settlement was reached after daylong negotiations in a federal court in Baltimore. The lawsuit stems from the Lacks family’s allegations that the cells collected from Lacks’ body following her death were taken and used for medical research without her permission. Astonishingly, her cells are still in use for research purposes today.
The family claimed HeLa Cells were used by Thermo Fisher to enrich their profits. Last year, the company reported second-quarter earnings of $10.60 billion.
The Lacks family sued Thermo Fisher in 2021 for profiting from what they called a racist medical system.
The cells taken from Lacks became the HeLa cell line, the first human cells to be successfully cloned. They represented a critical development in medical research.
HeLa cells went on to become a cornerstone of modern medicine, enabling countless scientific and medical innovations, including the development of the polio vaccine, genetic mapping, HIV AIDS medications, treatment of cancer, and COVID-19 vaccines. About 55 million tons of the cells have been used in over 75,000 scientific studies worldwide.
Lacks or her family never knew about HeLa cells, and they were never compensated. At the time the cells were first collected in 1951, no permission was required to take the cells.
“The exploitation of Henrietta Lacks represents the unfortunately common struggle experienced by Black people throughout history,” the complaint from her descendants read. “Too often, the history of medical experimentation in the United States has been the history of medical racism.”T
Another incident of medical exploitation occurred in the Tuskegee Study which examined untreated syphilis among Black men between 1932 and 1972 by the United States Public Health Service and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 400 Black men were relegated to control groups in the study and suffered from the ravages of syphilis although an effective treatment for the disease became available.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represented the Lacks family during the lawsuit, said Lacks was racked with pain until the end of her life as a repercussion of the procedures employed by John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. He blasted Johns Hopkins for using Lacks – and other Black women – as ‘lab rats,’ and said the experience was something many Black Americans could relate to. 
Though Johns Hopkins has never profited from HeLa cells, according to Crump Thermo Fisher knowingly sought the rights to products that use Lacks’ cells despite her never giving consent for the cells to be taken.
Thermo Fisher attempted to have the lawsuit dismissed when it was filed, arguing the statute of limitations had expired, but the family countered that the company has been profiting from the cells all this time.
Lacks’ story gained attention in 2010 when Rebecca Skloot published “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.” In 2017, Oprah Winfrey starred in an HBO movie of the same name based on the book.