MSMS students bring history to life in annual ‘Tales from the Crypt’

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – Usually, cemeteries are thought of as quiet places, but Friendship Cemetery in Columbus has been seeing a lot of activity this week.

Missississippi School of Math and Science students are turning their year-long research project into a historical reenactment.

For 33 years, “Tales of the Crypt” has been sharing a glimpse of the lives of people with connections to not only Friendship Cemetry but the town of Columbus.

MSMS History Teacher Chuck Yarborough said they are expanding voices from beyond the grave.

“I like to say that we are always striving to understand a more complete history which gives us a complete understanding of our community,” said Yarborough.

Stories will explore the African American experience, Choctaw experience, and also women.

Students, like Iris Xue, explored the life of Martha Peters, the niece of well-known cotton planter J.W. Peters who climbed the ladder of economic success from the hard labor of African Americans.

“There was a systemic societal issue of racism that can be shown in the labor system and the social practice of the time,” said Xue.

Noah Lee, another participant in the reenactment, said he was able to immerse himself fully in the project because he shared something in common with the young Civil War soldier.

“I am the same age that this guy was whenever he went off to this war, and just kind of imagining how I would be in the situation if I had to endure a traumatic event like that,” said Lee.

As a historian, Yarbrough said this experience provides an opportunity for the community to learn together.

“If young people commit to sharing what they do with the community, the community benefits from it and they benefit and grow themselves,” said Yarborough.

“Tales from the Crypt” starts at 7 p.m. Friday night and lasts until 10 p.m. Admission for adults is $5 and for students $3. All money collected from admissions will be given to charitable organizations.

The last two nights of this event are April 19 from 7-10 p.m. and April 21 from 7-10 p.m.

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