Southeast Missouri State University history professor Dr. Adam Criblez was recently featured in two episodes of “America: Facts vs. Fiction” on the American Heroes Channel.
This is the first time he’s appeared on the show dedicated to exploring how and why historical details of the many American myths and legends are sometimes altered to produce a more compelling narrative.
“It was very exciting to be a part of a national cable program,” said Criblez, who is also the director of Southeast’s Center for Regional History. “It was interesting to see how they put the show together, and how they filmed.”
His intimate knowledge about the Fourth of July and American history made him a perfect expert in the show’s “Liberty, Leprechauns and Lounging” episode, in which Criblez broke down the myths and history of America’s Independence Day.
“The Fourth of July was something I always looked forward to as a kid,” he said.
His fascination with the holiday and the numerous and various festivities surrounding it, became his focus while pursuing his master’s degree at Kent State University and later his doctorate at Purdue University.
“My own misconceptions about how the Fourth of July has been celebrated throughout the years and even how contested it has been, that’s really interesting to me.”
His first book, “Parading Patriotism: Independence Day Celebrations in the Urban Midwest, 1826-1876,” explores how Fourth of July celebrations in the urban Midwest helped define patriotic nationalism, and how the importance of Independence Day commemorations defined changing conceptions of what it meant to be an American.
“America: Facts vs. Fiction” allows audiences a fun way to learn about history that’s factual but entertaining, Criblez said. The episodes provide an interesting mix of historians, video clips and historical documents to learn about pivotal moments in U.S. history.
“Doing the show I felt like it fits my own teaching style,” he said. “I want my students to challenge what they’ve heard and the reasons behind their popular held beliefs.”
In “Moments That Changed History,” Criblez talked about the misconceptions about the infamous Boston Tea Party, a topic he often explores with his students.
“Our discussions lead into a comparison of what you know or think you know to jumping into the meat and potatoes of this saga,” he said. “The real story is even cooler than the generic version they’ve heard before. It makes for a great teaching moment.”
For those who can’t make it to his class, watch Dr. Adam Criblez on the American Heroes Channel’s “America: Facts vs. Fiction” Saturday, March 4, on DirecTV channel 287 or Dish Network channel 195. Season 4, Episode 3, “Liberty, Leprechauns and Lounging,” re-airs at 9:30 p.m., and Episode 5, “Moments That Changed History,” re-airs at 10:30 p.m.