The 25th Tales From The Crypt

On Wednesday, April 8, 2015, the popular MSMS history project "Tales From The Crypt" will celebrate a quarter-century of existence.

Sixty-three MSMS juniors will perform and coordinate the "Tales" experience, which will run on April 8, 10, 13, 15, and 17 at Friendship Cemetery on Fourth Street South in Columbus.

"Continuing our tradition of exploring intersections of race, class, gender, and religion during well-research performances, this year promises to be particularly engaging," wrote "Tales" teacher, Mr. Chuck Yarborough. "Among other issues, students will explore the Civil War's impact on POWs as well as European immigrants in the South; the meaning of 'freedom' to a late-19th century daughter of slaves; and gender role expectations for women during the late-19th century. Additionally, the annual remembrance of Columbus' Decoration Day Ladies continues, and there will be a special tribute to founding MSMS faculty member, Carl Butler, who created Tales from the Crypt." 

Butler, a history teacher and original MSMS faculty member, created the project during the first years of MSMS's history. Mr. Chuck Yarborough has helmed "Tales" since Butler's passing in 2003. Part of this year's MSMS Reunion Weekend will be a celebration of Mr. Butler and the dedication of Yarborough's classroom to Butler's memory.

Students who participate in the project research the lives of people who are buried at Friendship Cemetery, a national historic landmark, in Columbus. The students spend much of the fall semester in the genealogical archives in the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library, conducting original document research. The students then take this research and use it to create monologues about the people they have been researching. The project culminates during the annual Columbus Pilgrimage when the students perform as their research subjects, near the graves of their subjects, in Friendship Cemetery.

The project has drawn visitors from all over the country and won numerous awards and recognition, including the Distinguished Historic Preservation Award from the Mississippi Heritage Trust and the 2005 Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts. The project was also named as a finalist for the History Channel's "Save Our History" contest.