The Georgia State University Department of History, its Heritage Preservation Program, and the Center for Neighborhood and Metropolitan Studies are heading up the Georgia State University World Heritage Initiative to develop a Serial Nomination of U.S. Civil Rights Movement Sites for potential inscription on the World Heritage List. Working with the National Park Service Office of International Affairs (NPS OIA), the GSU World Heritage Team is identifying important places associated with the Modern Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s for further consideration. Ultimately the decision to inscribe civil rights sites on the World Heritage List will be made by the World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
A committee of leading scholars of the civil rights movement is developing a statement of Outstanding Universal Value that justifies inscription of select sites on the World Heritage List according to how well they relate to the World Heritage Criteria. A committee of historic preservationists is assisting the GSU World Heritage Team in assessing the integrity and authenticity of these sites being considered.
In April 2017 Georgia State University hosted the World Heritage and U.S. Civil Rights Sites Symposium 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.
The GSU World Heritage Team is assisting property owners and stakeholders in developing management plans through which the properties of the Serial Nomination of U.S. Civil Rights Sites will be protected in perpetuity. These plans include buffer zones around each site as well as a coordinated management plan for the entire listing.
The site management plans will be shared and discussed at the second Symposium on U.S. Civil Rights Movement Sites in April 2021. Site owners will also develop the coordinated management plan for the entire World Heritage listing. Other Civil Rights Movement site owners and stakeholders are also invited to attend sessions on Sites of Conscience and other shared issues.