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MSMS Students Race to Begin Tales From the Crypt Project

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MSMS Students Race to Begin Tales From the Crypt Project

Mr. Yarborough's first block class begins the project at the cemetery.

Mr. Yarborough's first block class begins the project at the cemetery.

Elijah Dosda

Mr. Yarborough's first block class begins the project at the cemetery.

Elijah Dosda

Elijah Dosda

Mr. Yarborough's first block class begins the project at the cemetery.

Elijah Dosda, Staff Writer

Several classes of Mr. Chuck Yarborough’s Tales from the Crypt, or Tales as most students like to say, embarked on what is going to be a year-long adventure to uncover the past and retell the stories of very significant men and women who have long since passed away in the historic Friendship Cemetery. 

“Tales from the Crypt” is an award-winning project that was started in 1991 by MSMS teacher Mr. Carl Butler that focuses on deep research through multiple archives and documents and bringing that research to a performance-centric event to recreate what the assigned person’s life would have looked like. 

The first step in this recreation process is that students choose a particular person from a master list that has 100 unresearched names that have a forgotten life story behind them, and then they go to Friendship Cemetery to locate their tombstone and find out relatives, birth and death date and other basic facts. 

With the basics given from the cemetery, the students then proceed to use the Columbus/Lowndes County Public Library which has access to many different types of records on file in the Department of Archives.  

Aided with this vital information, the students try to create an accurate picture of what this person’s life was like by scriptwriting and putting on a performance for the public to enjoy. 

Yarborough took over the project in 2003, and has expanded it to the point that the project has hit international recognition, including the  2005’s Governor’s Excellence in the Arts Award, and publicity in major magazines like the New York Times and the Atlantic. 

When asked about what he expects for this year in “Tales from the Crypt,” Yarborough commented, “I expect the year to be great as always. Students seem excited and they have a great rapport. The students selected subjects that will allow us to study the intersections of race, class, gender and religion.” 

The students seem just as excited about the class.

Kresha Patel, a junior currently enrolled in the class commented on the uniqueness of the class.

“The most exciting thing for me about Tales is how different it is from a normal history class.” Patel said, “I have never been to a cemetery for a class trip and learning about the concept of bringing these people to life makes it that much more exciting.”

Many have stated how much of a unique experience this class is for them, as there has not been a lot of hands-on approaches with history classes in general.

“I decided to join because I thought it would be an amazing experience where we get to uncover the past. I love learning about history, and this was the perfect opportunity for me to discover life as it was back then,” Taylor Willis commented.

The performances are scheduled for March 29, April 1, 3, & 5th, 2019. The proceeds go to a good cause, as over $6,000 was donated in 2017 to charity organizations such as the Lantern Clinic, Save 1 Pet, the Batson’s Children Hospital at UMMC, the Columbus-Lowndes County Library and the Columbus Cultural Heritage Foundation. 

 *Update 1/11/19 Fixed Formatting Issues

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