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Board of Directors

Servant Courtney Speed | President


Business Woman, Turner Station, MD

Servant Courtney Leigh Speed is a biblical business woman and long time resident of Turner Station, Maryland where she has been a community advocate for almost 56 years.  She founded the Turner Station Heritage Foundation, the Kingdom Economic System, and the Henrietta Lacks Legacy Group.  She revived the Turner Station Girl Scouts and contributes to the Turner Station Boy Scouts.  Her struggle to ensure that the legacy of Henrietta Lacks’ Legacy is known world-wide was first recognized by the BBC who came to her to research the story in the late 1970s.  She believes in what she terms the 5 Fs:  faith, family, finance, food, and fun.  She serves as president of HLLG.

Ms. Alice B. Deshazo | Co-Historian


Retired Principal

Ms. Alice B. DeShazo is an educator and served as Assistant Principal of Perry Hall High School.  She belongs to a number of nonprofit organizations and is an adult volunteer for the Turner Station Girl Scouts.  She is committed to the success of all young people and believes that it does indeed take a village to raise children.  She belongs to Twenty Women, an organization that focuses on charitable activities in the community.  She believes that people should “work hard and give back to others.”

Mrs. Raheemah Raheem- Muhammad



Ms. Raheemah Raheem-Muhammad is a trained educator with skills in the area of child development.  She has a passion for community organizing.  She is a former resident of Turner Station, MD. ​

Mrs. Elaine Welkie


Community Service Coordinator, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center

Mr. Devon Brown


Correctional executive, attorney, and psychologist

Mr. Devon Brown is a correctional executive, attorney, and psychologist from Turner Station, Maryland.  He is passionate about social justice issues and deeply moved by the Henrietta Lacks story.  He supports the United Negro College Fund and the American Correctional Fund, among other organizations.  He believes that the most important thing God created is family.  Through family; one finds strength to meet adversity and face the challenges of life

Dr. Roland A. Pattillo


Professor Emeritus, Morehouse School of Medicine

Dr. Roland  A. Pattillo’s contributions to public service are many and varied.  He authored the first stem cell publication in 1968 with Dr. George Gey, founder of cell culture at the Johns Hopkins University—“Invitro Identification of the Trophoblastic Stem Cell” in the American Journal of OBGYN, vol. 100, issue 582 (February 1968).  The confirmation of the cancer stem cell nature of this system was published in Science vol . 159, issue 1467, March 1968.  The cell line establishment was verified in Cancer Research vol. 28, issue 1231, July 1968.  “Cancer Stem Cell Characteristics and Immunologic Express” were identified later in Science , vol. 196, volume 1456, June 1977.  He is professor emeritus at Morehouse School of Medicine.

In addition to his crucial research, Dr. Pattillo  has been and continues to be actively involved in health disparity awareness in minority populations.  He launched the first National HeLa Cancer Control Symposium at Morehouse School of Medicine in 10/11/1996.  For 22 years, the conference has featured notable physicians and researchers, including Dr. Gary H. Gibbons, cardiologist and director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.  The objective of the conference is to provide a forum for long overdue recognition of Henrietta Lacks of the famed HeLa cell line and to interrogate the characteristics of triple negativity—negative to the estrogen receptor—most common in black women and  Native American women.  He presented at the first HeLa Conference the ElCo Cell Line and it has been applied to and instrumental in the treatment of triple negative breast cancer in all women.

Ms. Ashley Clark | Membership Chair

Membership Chair

Program Manager, VA State Office for Rural Health

s. Ashley Clark serves as the State Office Rural Health Manager (SORH) for the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), Office of Health Equity (OHE). She has an extensive research background working with programs such as:  Partnership for Research and Education in Plants (PREP)  through Virginia Tech University, the StarNet Human Genome project through University of Washington, the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP) through Howard University and as a student researcher for Spelman College for her work on the micro-diversity of Spelman College soil and the MSH2 gene and its correlation to the development to Colorectal Cancer. While attending Spelman, Ms. Clark learned of the story of Henrietta Lacks and has taken every opportunity presented to both teach and learn more about her continued legacy. In spring 2018, Ms. Clark was afforded the opportunity to work on the Legislative Action Summary and attend the Virginia General Assembly on the passing of the Henrietta Lacks Commission Bill. Ms. Clark’s goal is to not only help underserved communities but to also address inequitable issues unique to rural Virginia.

Dr. Adele Newson-Horst | Vice President

Vice President and Chair of the Board of Directors

Professor of English, Morgan State University

Dr. Adele Newson-Horst is a professor of English at Morgan State University. Her areas of expertise include women writers of color and theories of gender equity. Her most recent works are edited volumes of the works of Egyptian physician, writer and activist Nawal el Saadawi. She is the vice president of the Henrietta Lacks Legacy Group and passionately believes in its mission to extend the legacy of Mrs. Lacks.

Mr. David Lacks, Jr. | Co-Historian


Grandson of Henrietta Lacks

Rev. Eric Johnson


Pastor of Union Baptist Church, Turner Station, MD

Ms. Chelsey Cox | Social Media Director

Social Media Director

Journalist, Washington, D.C.

s. Chelsey Cox is the creator for the petition for a national day of recognition for Henrietta Lacks.  She is also an educator, having taught as an adjunct Instructor of Sociology for seven years.  Additionally, Ms. Cox is a Senior Associate with ICF Consulting, a premier international consulting firm based in Northern Virginia.  She believes that Mrs. Lacks is due recognition for her amazing contributions to modern medicine and would like her to become as well recognized as Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Shirley Chisholm.  Here philosophy in life is if one method doesn’t garner the results then search for another until you get traction.

Mr. David Sanders

Health Care Promotion and Activism

International Business Consultant specializing in Administrative Law,
Instructional Systems Design and International Contracting and Business Development

David Sanders is an Honorably Discharged Veteran, Cancer Survivor and independent business owner who was raised in the Lyon Homes housing project of Turner Station. His professional training is in Aircraft Maintenance, Instructional System Design, Federal Import/Export Law, Financial Services, Cultural Assessments and Strategies, and internet radio broadcasting. His business interests are domestic and international which he performs through his own firm. He learned the story of Henrietta Lacks from his parents while hospitalized with Cancer in 2011 and was greatly encouraged when he discovered that the HeLa cells which were helping the doctors to save his life came from a long deceased resident of his home community. This has inspired him to become an international Health Care Activist and Community Helper At-Large on behalf of the HLLG with a particular focus on Veterans with Cancer and reducing health inequalities for minoritiesHe believes that it is important for the world to know about the remarkable gift of Henrietta Lacks and to promote the practice of helping each other in the same manner of family and community life in Turner Station that resulted in the discovery of Henrietta Lacks thanks to Dr. Wade.

Ms. Elmira Thornton


Retired Director, Fleming Senior Center, Turner Station, MD

Ms. Elmira Thornton is the former Director of the Fleming Senior Center in Turner Station, MD.  She serves on the Turner Station Heritage Foundation Committee and volunteers for the Hubert V. Simmons Museum of Negro Leagues Baseball, Inc.  She always enjoys the look of surprise and astonishment on peoples faces, whenever she informs them of the three women who played with the men in the Negro Leagues.

Ms. Carlisa Jones | Co-Chair, Annual Luncheon

Co-Chair, Annual Luncheon

Admin. Supervisor, Marketing Rep, Independent Travel Agent, Health Enthusiast

Mrs. Carlisa Jones is a long time resident of Turner Station.  In 2011, she became an active member of Christian Life Church in Baltimore County and is the Director of the Christian Life Welcome Center. For 15 years, she has encouraged Johns Hopkins’ participation in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk for a Cure, signing up fundraising team captains and walkers who have raised tens of thousands of dollars in donations. She has personally raised nearly $14,500 the past two years. As Johns Hopkins’ lead campaign organizer, she encourages colleagues to increase their financial support, solicits donations for snacks from supermarket chains and organizes an awards luncheon for the department captains.

Mrs. Yvette Racks | Board Secretary

Board Secretary

Administrative Assistant in the Entrepreneurial Development & Assistance Center, at Morgan State University’s Earl G. Graves School of Business & Management

Mrs.Yvette D. Racks is the Administrative Assistant in the Entrepreneurial Development & Assistance Center, at Morgan State University’s Earl G. Graves School of Business & Management.  The consummate organizer, Mrs. Racks has managed the onsite activities of the first two HLLG Annual Luncheons.  Her social justice commitment makes her a perfect addition to the HLLG team.