Highway 96

HW96 runs from the Gulf of Mexico north through East Texas 200 miles to Carthage Texas. It is the subject of Herman Wright’s films. HWY 96 is bounded by the Neches, Angelina and Sabine Rivers. On both sides of the highway are towns with farm to market roads that intersect with this highway. The stories along HWY96 tell American History in the 20th Century in a personal way by linking ordinary people with extraordinary times. Hwy96 is runs through East Texas like a spine of a complex organism. It has had more tough days than good but its people love it.

Hwy96 is covered by National Forest and forest preserves. Its undulating hilly terrain and vast stands of loblolly pines make it a beautiful environmental tapestry... Its tropical creek bottoms with stands of bamboo and its cypress trees that hide its alligators, snakes, butterflies and endangered species make it a naturalist dream.

Yet its economy has been fueled by its natural resources. Its forest has become homes and its oil and gas reserves fuel our automobiles. The ability of the people along Hwy 96 to preserve the natural beauty and create livelihoods at the same time is the American dilemma lived out on a daily basis.

Those who have left east Texas ,and there are many the economy could not support, still cannot can not get it out of their system no matter how successful  they are elsewhere. Herman Wright, the film maker is one of those people.

Hwy 96 is a microcosm of America’s diversity. Until recently its culture was black and white played out not quite southern but not quite western. Now it is brown with Hispanics moving into the woods. Quietly Asian cultures are also beginning to find a home in the woods.

Herman’s film making travels up and down this highway telling peoples stories and revealing a part of the American soul. Herman examines America’s values and its world view filming up and down Hwy 96 where large events that captured the American imagination rarely happened there and when they did the story was told in a way that missed a more poignant story. The stories along Hwy 96 reflect the majesty of the American experience in the 20th century. MC3 has made it, its lifework to tell those stories.       

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