Clinton HS students find treasure in old trunk - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Clinton HS students find treasure in old trunk

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CLINTON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Some Clinton High School Juniors are harkening back to a day when a pack of gum cost 5 cents and supper cost 40 cents. And, when letters were written by hand, in cursive.

The students are fitting together thousands of puzzle pieces that chronicle a few decades in the life of James Crawford.

English and creative writing teacher Cordelia Godfrey bought a house in Jackson 24 years ago and found a trunk full of Crawford's belongings.

"The Crawfords lived in my home. When I found the trunk, I asked if they wanted it back. No one wanted it, so I kept it," she says.

The students have been reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. The book's author conducted a similar investigation on a woman whose cells were used for research, and her family didn't even know it.

Each group of students has their own bag of cold case evidence representing a stage in Crawford's life, from his love of theater and days at Ole Miss, to his time as a Naval officer.

"I learned a lot about when he was in Japan. His mother wrote him every day," says student Cody Barattini.

Student Noelle Jones made a unique discovery as she poured through one of Crawford's old Central High School year books.

"I found my great uncle Thompie. They were in the same class," she says. "It's pretty cool. I got to learn more about my family too."

"Everyone's writing their own individual story based on the facts they have," Godfrey says. "The stories have to be historically accurate, economically accurate for the time period, socially accurate for the time period. They're creating an objective narrative. I let them use their phones to research things concerning the time period. They have loved it."

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