The Georgia State University Department of History, its Heritage Preservation Program and the Center for Neighborhood and Metropolitan Studies are heading up the World Heritage Initiative. Working with the National Park Service Office of International Affairs (NPS OIA), GSU faculty are identifying potential civil rights sites and vetting them for authenticity and integrity. Ultimately the decision to place the sites on the World Heritage List would be made by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Two committees, one of Scholars and one of Historic Preservationists, will evaluate the properties proposed for inclusion in the nomination in order to conceptualize an argument for Outstanding Universal Value using UNESCO’s Criteria for World Heritage. Each property must serve as an exceptional example that demonstrates the struggle for racial equality as an Outstanding Universal Value that transcends American boundaries and influences the world’s struggle for human rights. Each property must be in good condition, have physical integrity, and eventually, will need to have a management plan that provides for the site’s protection as well as buffer zone around it.
To explain the program and facilitate work, Georgia State University hosted on its downtown Atlanta campus a World Heritage and Civil Rights Sites Symposium, April 20-22, 2017, at which scholars and preservationists, historic property owners and relevant stakeholders gathered to discuss the objectives of the initiative, the expectations of the project, and the obligations that would result from selection as a World Heritage Site. In discussing the authenticity and integrity of the sites, Scholars and preservationists will identify properties for the Serial Nomination. The GSU team will assist property owners and stakeholders in developing a management plan through which the U.S. Civil Rights Sites Serial Nomination properties and accompanying buffer zones will be protected in perpetuity.