The Dallas family restored the family cemetery. The story is shown on large AT&T screens.

Giant screens at AT&T headquarters immerse you in the chirping of birds in the pine forests of East Texas.

Rodney Hawkins, a producer and journalist based in Dallas, led a group that created an exhibition called The Mount Experience. He was inspired to start researching his family history when he heard his grandmother’s stories of growing up on the family’s sharecropping farm. The road led him to the cemetery.

“It’s been almost 30 to 40 years since the old Mount William Cemetery, where my ancestors are buried, had a fully functional cemetery that was recognizable,” he said. “And the reason we needed to restore it is because it’s in the middle of a pine forest, deep in East Texas.”

Hawkins says this is just one of many attempts to restore historic black burial sites across the country.

He hopes this exhibit will inspire others to explore their family’s past and record their elders.

The exhibition features photographs from a restoration project by Dallas photographer Kwesi Janful. There is an immersive graveyard entrance by Samsung and artwork by Dallas-based artists T’Ria Hurd and Trevor Donaldson.

The Mount Experience runs at AT&T Headquarters in the AT&T Discovery District until February 21st.

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