Robert E. Lee monument being replaced with statue of cancer patient

Racial revenge in Roanoke, VA

George Grey

On July 22, 2020, as Black militants and Antifa rioted across the nation, thugs destroyed a famous monument honoring Robert E. Lee in Roanoke, Virginia. The memorial was erected in 1961 on the 100th anniversary of the start of the War Between the States.

Roanoke’s left-wing city council had already pledged to take the statue down. However, the thugs thought the process for legally removing the monument was too long.

It was just announced that Lee’s memorial would be replaced with a statue of Henrietta Lacks, a Black female former resident of Roanoke.

Lacks was treated for cervical cancer at the John Hopkinson Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1951. She was a patient from August 1 until her death on October 4. Cancerous material was removed from her cervix. Biologist George Grey discovered a new type of cell while conducting a biopsy on this material. These cells were named HeLa cells. Researchers would go on to make multiple medical discoveries using her cells.

In 1996, Morehouse School of Medicine, a Black college in Atlanta, declared that Lachs represented an African American who had contributed to medical research and clinical practice. In 2017, HBO made a movie about Lachs starring Oprah Winfrey.

Other than being a patient from whom samples were taken. Lachs played no role in any medical discoveries.

The former site of the Robert E. Lee statue was called “Lee Plaza.” It has already been renamed “Henrietta Lacks Plaza.”

Roanoke Vice-Mayor Trish White-Boyd is at the forefront of this effort. She is a Black female and self-described “community activist.”

White-Boyd and others in Roanoke are carrying out a racial revenge fantasy. They seem to view this as a victory over the White man. It also distracts from real problems in the Black community, for which activists like White-Boyd offer no solutions.

Carrying out symbolic revenge against White people is easier than addressing surging Black homicides. Roanoke had 16 homicides in 2021 for a rate of 16.2 per 100k. The victims were 75% Black, and known offenders were 87.5% Black. Between 2006 and 2015, the city only had an average of 8.4 homicides per year. 

Roanoke had 18 homicides in 2022 so far, for a rate of 18.2 per 100k. We can only find data as old as 1999, but this gives Roanoke its highest homicide rate since at least the 90s. At least one homicide was Black on White. Grover Edwards was shot and killed in Roanoke on June 3. A Black male suspect has been charged.

Roanoke is about 57% White and 30% Black.

Roanoke also has a Black mayor. The other five city council members are two White males, two Black females, and a Latino.

Ben Crump spoke at a ceremony to announce the statue. He is supposed to be representing Lach’s descendants. He is also the attorney for family members of George Floyd.

In 2020, Bristol, England got a Black female mayor. One year later, Bristol University erected a statue of Henrietta Lacks.

University of Bristol