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US Approach to World Heritage

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Author winterkjm
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#271 | Posted: 14 Jun 2017 03:13 | Edited by: winterkjm 
UNESCO nomination is being initiated by Georgia State University

Here are 6 sites that will likely will be included in any Civil Rights Movement serial nomination. I bolded the most relevant components. All six are protected at the national level.

Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument (Alabama)
Freedom Riders National Monument (Alabama)
Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail (Alabama)
Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site (Arkansas)
Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site (Kansas)
Martin Luther King, Jr National Historic Site (Georgia)

Important tangible components (National Historic Landmarks):
BETHEL BAPTIST CHURCH, PARSONAGE, AND GUARD HOUSE (AL)
BROWN CHAPEL A.M.E. CHURCH (AL)
DEXTER AVENUE BAPTIST CHURCH (AL)
PETTUS, EDMUND, BRIDGE (AL)
SIXTEENTH STREET BAPTIST CHURCH (AL)
LITTLE ROCK CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL (AR)
KING, MARTIN LUTHER, JR., HISTORIC DISTRICT (GA)
SUMNER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL/MONROE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL (KS)

Essentially for visitors of the envisioned Civil Rights Movement WHS, you will mostly be visiting historic black churches, schools connected to the battle over segregation, and associative sites connected to marches/protests/leaders of the movement (Edmund Pettus Bridge, MLK's home, etc)

The article highlights the needed protection of the Sumner Elementary School, which is a prime candidate for this serial nomination. Ideally, ownership and funds are secured to include the historic school into the already established Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, which is located nearby. There is also a new initiative called the U.S. Civil Rights Trail, which will connect all of the the sites listed above.

http://cjonline.com/news/local/local-government/2017-06-13/councilwoman-topeka-sites- linked-brown-case-could-gain-world

$7.5 million in grants were allotted in January for Civil Rights Preservation projects, many of these projects are connected to sites potentially included in a Civil Rights Movement nomination.

https://www.nps.gov/orgs/1207/01-12-2017-civil-rights-grants.htm

*Just a side note: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, and Kansas have 0 world heritage sites, therefore a successfull nomination dossier would be a significant achievement.

Author Colvin
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#272 | Posted: 14 Jun 2017 09:44 
KSTraveler would be excited to see the Brown vs. Board of Education site in Kansas is being considered for this serial nomination. It's one of the sites he/she mentioned in an earlier post.

Author nfmungard
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#273 | Posted: 14 Jun 2017 11:00 
When it comes to the Civil Rights sites I am a bit torn. The peaceful protest ... great. That a country and its legal system come around to abolish segregation by the 1960s, though, is nothing a western country should be proud of. It's really way too late. And too little, if you consider that racism has persisted to this day (e.g. gerrymandering of afro american voters in states such as Alabama).

Author winterkjm
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#274 | Posted: 14 Jun 2017 11:25 | Edited by: winterkjm 
I don't think Americans view these sites as a celebrations of our legal system! In fact, I think these sites are a testament to how divided these United States were, and evidence of a time when systemic racism throughout US Government Institutions were a tool to maintain Jim Crow. As you say, some goals of the Civil Rights Movement have not been fully realized when considering major flaws in the US Justice system today, modern-day segregation, etc. Indeed, the US is still struggling to create a more just and free society, and there are plenty of bumps along this windy road.

Of course, we celebrate MLK, Rosa Parks, Bayard Rustin, Angela Davis, Dorothy Height, and John Lewis amongst others. Yet, it must be stated, as the first multi-racial democracy on Earth the US Civil Rights Movement is a turning point in world history.

nfmungard:
That a country and its legal system come around to abolish segregation by the 1960s, though, is nothing a western country should be proud of. It's really way too late.

Its not a question of being proud. I do not think a comparison with other Western Countries is particularly useful. The Atlantic Slave Trade began under the auspices of European Colonial powers long before 1776. The claim that Western European countries who abolished Slavery earlier, or did not implement segregation, are somehow more enlightened or less prejudiced than their US counterparts is a stretch at best considering their relatively small non-white population. Moreover, having colonial holdings where minority whites ruled the colony has been an all too recent practice by Spain, France, and Britain.

I would be remiss, to not mention that the "North" (Northern States) had fully abolished Slavery by 1804. Nor was official segregation practiced in the North, though life for African Americans was extremely difficult after Reconstruction regarding racism and discrimination, even lynchings occurred in the North. Being less racist and discriminatory than the South was not an accomplishment.

In 1860, there were 4.5 million African Americans in the US, roughly 15% of the entire population. The UK in 2017, is about 3% African and 7% Asian. Nearly 90% of the population is White, while virtually all other ethnic groups became UK Citizens during the 20th Century through immigration, not bondage. With the emancipation of 4 million slaves in 1865, the US had the tremendously difficult task of reconstructing a society based on racial equality and justice. Tragically, Reconstruction ultimately failed and the Civil Rights Movement became Reconstruction 2.0 nearly a century later.

The current justification for OUV for this nomination is:

(criteria vi) This movement both drew from and had a profound influence on human rights movements elsewhere in the world, particularly insofar as they embody techniques of non-violent social change hitherto most powerfully expressed by Mahatma Gandhi.

Nothing is highlighted here of the US Government, legal system, or civic institutions. The OUV is therefore a product of the Movement itself to stand against the barriers and gatekeepers of the US Legal System in allowance of equal rights and justice under the law.

This may be altered or refined when an actual nomination dossier emerges, but its hard not to agree with it. The challenge will be selecting the most appropriate sites for a serial nomination, coordinating management practices across four states, and the question of whether these tangible remains authentically demonstrate OUV when linked to an entire movement as complex and enduring as the US Civil Rights Movement.

Its fascinating the evolution that has taken place in regards to "Dark History" in the US. NPS officials have also been in talks and have discussed adding sites associated with Slavery on the US Tentative list. These 3 sites in particular are associated with brutality, terrorism, murder, and mob mentality. The bridge is actually named after a Confederate General and Ku Klux Klan member who later became a US Senator.

PETTUS, EDMUND, BRIDGE (AL) - site of Bloody Sunday (Selma 3/7/65)
SIXTEENTH STREET BAPTIST CHURCH (AL) - bombing committed by 4 white supremacists as an act of terrorism, four children were killed (Birmingham 9/15/63)
LITTLE ROCK CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL (AR) - 1200 soldiers were mobilized by the President to escort 9 African American students to school after an angry mob of 1,000 or more white citizens protested integration. (Little Rock 9/23/57)

Author GaryArndt
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#275 | Posted: 14 Jun 2017 13:27 
nfmungard:
e.g. gerrymandering of afro american voters in states such as Alabama).

The 1965 Voting Rights Act requires the creation of minority-majority districts so they have representation in Congress.

Author KSTraveler
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#276 | Posted: 15 Jun 2017 01:25 
Colvin:
KSTraveler would be excited to see the Brown vs. Board of Education site in Kansas is being considered for this serial nomination. It's one of the sites he/she mentioned in an earlier post.

Thank you for the mention, Colvin! I am pretty excited for this nomination, I have visited the Brown vs. Board NHS several times as well as many of the other sites that are part of this nomination. Whether or not these sites are WHS worthy is for the committee for decide, but I have known my visits to these sites have been quite moving, as far as travel experiences go they have been some of my favorite.

Author GaryArndt
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#277 | Posted: 19 Jun 2017 17:45 
I met some representatives from the State of Alabama tourism office a few months ago, and they are very excited about the prospects of this becoming a WHS. I also think it is about time something in the South gets WHS status.

Personally, I also think there should be a serial site to cover many of the major Civil War battlefields in the US. (Gettysburg, Appamotix, Vicksburg, Antidem, etc) The US Civil War was the largest military conflict in the world between the Napoleonic Wars and WWI. Trench warfare, which came into maturity in WWI, was developed in the US Civil War. Likewise, submarines and many other military innovations occurred during this conflict.

It was also the largest war ever fought in the Western Hemisphere. It also marked a major turning point for the end of slavery as an institution in the world.

Author winterkjm
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#278 | Posted: 20 Jun 2017 00:00 
Reconstruction sites would have more OUV in my opinion. As the first multi-racial Democracy these sites hold more significance than any one battlefield, no?

Author nfmungard
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#279 | Posted: 20 Jun 2017 07:14 
GaryArndt:
It was also the largest war ever fought in the Western Hemisphere. It also marked a major turning point for the end of slavery as an institution in the world.

Having been to one site of World War I memorials last weekend I wonder what the universal value of battlefields or even battle cemeteries is. To me the main message should be about peace.

In the case of Civil War sites: What tangible sites are there at all? As far as I recall my German history, Sherman did rather the opposite from leaving anything tangible. ;)

winterkjm:
Reconstruction sites would have more OUV in my opinion. As the first multi-racial Democracy these sites hold more significance than any one battlefield, no?

Re battle fields, I agree.

What are reconstruction sites for you? Also, reconstruction fell pretty quickly apart.

Author GaryArndt
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#280 | Posted: 20 Jun 2017 13:47 
Like it or not, wars have had a massive influence on the direction of history and humanity. It's history and a very important part of it.

We don't avoid sites like Masada, Grand Pre, or Auschwitz because they are associated with negative events, even though we may wish they never happened.

The single most defining event of the 20th Century was WWII, and there is shockingly little about it reflected in the world heritage list, for example.

In the case of the US Civil War, there are many tangible sites. Here is a list of all the sites in the US National Park Service which are related to the Civil War:

- SPRINGFIELD ARMORY NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
- ANTIETAM NATIONAL BATTLEFIELD
- GETTYSBURG NATIONAL MILITARY PARK
- HARPERS FERRY NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK
- SHILOH NATIONAL MILITARY PARK
- STONES RIVER NATIONAL BATTLEFIELD
- PEA RIDGE NATIONAL MILITARY PARK
- MANASSAS NATIONAL BATTLEFIELD PARK
- CIVIL WAR DEFENSES OF WASHINGTON
- MONOCACY NATIONAL BATTLEFIELD
- FREDERICKSBURG & SPOTSYLVANIA NATIONAL MILITARY PARK
- CHICKAMAUGA AND CHATTANOOGA NATIONAL MILITARY PARK

I'm not saying they should all be listed, only that there are plenty of tangible sites available. If you expand this into sites which deal with Lincoln or Grant, it is even more.

Sherman's March to the Sea was only one theater in the Civil War.

Author meltwaterfalls
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#281 | Posted: 20 Jun 2017 14:26 
I always thought that the WWI sites were focused more on the 'artistic' response to the loss of life rather than the significance of the battles. The landscape design and monuments to the lost and unknown soldiers was a reflection of the prevailing trends in early 20th century design. But it has been a while since I looked into the proposal it may have morphed a little since I last engaged.

I fully appreciate the significance of various war sites, though I am a little uneasy about opening them up, also it could shift the focus away from tangible built monuments and cultural responses to just acknowledging specific histories of whomever wishes to pursue them at that time. If US civil war battlefields are added then other nations may start looking to inscribe their own particularly significant battlefields. Some may not be contentious but it does risk opening up a can of worms.

From a UK perspective I doubt there would be much issue with the sites of the battles of Hastings or Naesby being nominated even if there is little tangible value to them but sites of the battles of Bannockburn, the Boyne or Goose Green may be a touch more contentious. I wouldn't want to be the ICOMOS rep that has to report on the site of the battle of Kosovo.

Author GaryArndt
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#282 | Posted: 20 Jun 2017 15:47 
I view battlefields a bit like paleontology sites.

The reason they are important is that something happened there once. When I visited Sangiran in Indonesia, where they found Java Man, there wasn't really much to see. What made that site important was now in a museum somewhere else. The discovery of the fossil was important, but there isn't anything THERE anymore, and if there is, it is buried in the ground.

I think for a battlefield to be listed there should be two criteria:

1) It should be an important or critical battle which shaped civilization and history.

Battles from the last 250 years which I think would apply would include the Normandy landing sites, Stalingrad, Verdun, Trafalgar, Austerlitz, Waterloo, Lexington, Gettysburg, Ypres, etc. (I don't know as much about Asian military history, but I'm pretty sure something like Huai-Hai in the Chinese Civil War would apply)

Going back further, you have Gaugamela, Actium, Cannae, Vienna, Tours, Thermopylae, etc.

2) There should be something there which harkens back to the battle.

This would really hurt ancient battlefield sites, as they may have occurred thousands of years ago and there is nothing there today. In some cases, we don't even know exactly where it took place.

19th and 20th-century battles may still have the basic battlefields preserved. You can see where the various lines or trenches were. Perhaps even craters buildings which were used as headquarters, etc.

I understand there would be difficulty in listing some sites, but I don't think something has OUV because of what we 'want' the world to be.

Author Assif
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#283 | Posted: 20 Jun 2017 16:33 | Edited by: Assif 
I know of at least two TWHS whose OUV stems from the battles which took place there:

Waterloo (Belgium): http://www.worldheritagesite.org/sites/twhs.php?id=5362
Arbel (Israel): http://www.worldheritagesite.org/sites/twhs.php?id=1475

Author winterkjm
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#284 | Posted: 20 Jun 2017 18:13 | Edited by: winterkjm 
Having battlefields included on the world heritage list would inevitably be 10 to 1 European. For example, in East Asia its relatively rare for battlefields to be preserved as landscapes themselves, nor are they protected on the national level. US ICOMOS and the National Park Service currently have no interest in nominating battlefields, and this policy is unlikely to change.

nfmungard:
What are reconstruction sites for you? Also, reconstruction fell pretty quickly apart.

Many Historians date Reconstruction from 1865 - 1877, while others extend it to 1898. Either way the decade(s) following the Civil War are as important to the American experiment as the Revolution itself, because its the first time the Declaration of Independence words, "All men are created equal" are being realized and put to the test.

Justification for Inscription: Reconstruction was a significant chapter in the history of civil rights in the United States, and in economic history. The first 6 African American Congressmen emerged during Reconstruction. The ambitious aspirations during Reconstruction and the major successes are often forgotten because of its eventual end and Jim Crow, yet the legacy of Reconstruction remained.

Reconstruction Era National Monument

Darrah Hall at Penn Center
Brick Baptist Church
The Old Beaufort Firehouse
Camp Saxton Site/Emancipation Grove at Port Royal


When considering the importance (OUV) of Reconstruction Era sites:
- The First Black Members of Congress
- Black officeholders during Reconstruction
- Thirteenth Amendment (Abolishes Slavery) 1865
- Fourteenth Amendment (Citizenship rights and equal protection) 1868
- Fifteenth Amendment (Right to vote to all) 1870

Author Colvin
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#285 | Posted: 20 Jun 2017 23:07 
This is a fascinating topic in itself, regarding the place of battlefields on the World Heritage Site list -- maybe this would be better as a new topic, since there are more perspectives than just US battlefields?

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