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Author Assif
Partaker
#376 | Posted: 20 Jan 2021 17:27 
Not a TWHS yet, Arecibo Observatory, one of our proposals for the new top missing sites, has crashed and there are doubts as to whether it is going to be rebuilt.
https://www.space.com/arecibo-telescope-loss-underscores-astronomy-conference-aas237

Author nfmungard
Partaker
#377 | Posted: 21 Jan 2021 09:27 | Edited by: nfmungard 
@Jay you are an American. Winterkjm I assume you are, too. I think you could take a step back and try to understand why a foreigner may have a different perspective on the subject.

For me, it should start with a huge amount of humility by the US. No, the civil rights movement was not a trendsetter. No other western democracy practiced race based segregation, certainly not in the 60s. Period. Only western country I am aware of is South Africa and Apartheid.

Or Nazi Germany for that matter going back to the 30-40s, decidedly not a democracy.

I always wondered why the Nazis were so relaxed about the US. But looking back, what should a Nazi diplomat in Washington in the 30s have reported home? We treat our Jews better than or at least as good than they treat their "negros" in the South.

And if you find the comparison crass, it's not. It's apparently, what civil rights acitvist thought themselves:
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0031322X.2019.1614296?journalCode=rpop20

But it's not taught in the US to think about it this way. And that's were I take offense with this proposal as white washing. The fact that the confederate flag was still part of a US state till 2015 should give you pause. Same for the Tulsa race riots being "news" in 2020 or reparations being a thing.

Author winterkjm
Partaker
#378 | Posted: 21 Jan 2021 11:36 | Edited by: winterkjm 
I am a teacher in the United States and I promise you this is how we teach it (at least in most schools in Los Angeles and certainly my own). Each state is different, but the standards have been reworked quite dramatically in the last 20-30 years. We discuss reparations, we explore domestic terror in the South (lynching), bystander's being complicit (white silence), and explore topics (complete units) about American slavery and segregation often in-depth, they are part of the Common Core Standards. The Confederate flag and Confederate monuments ("should they be removed") are discussions we have in class, including the rise of the Ku Klux Clan. This is not to say, "look how honest we are" (congratulatory pat on the back), no there is still so much work to be done and education regarding History and Civics, which must improve in American classrooms to help develop an informed citizenry (something we have struggled with obviously).

I respect your opinion, while I find many of the arguments in the nomination file (outline) convincing why it might be a worthy nomination, I also can see your point of view. Thanks for sharing your opinion.

Author Assif
Partaker
#379 | Posted: 21 Jan 2021 16:54 
As a non-American I strongly identify with nfmungard's opinion. I think this nomination tries to present a set of historical events as a positive precedence. While this was certainly the case from a local perspective, internationally it was just another example of a repressed population fighting for its rights, something that keeps happening again and again all over the world (Arab Spring, Hong Kong, Iran - just to name a few current examples). That this protest had to occur in a country which often sees itself as the leader of the free world is not something to celebrate, on the contrary.
The same is true of Black Lives Matter. The USA is the strongest country in the world, exercising its huge influence everywhere. I believe this is what makes its protests being imitated in other countries. However, nowhere in the free world can we see similar discrimination of minorities (apart of Israel, but this is another discussion). Therefore, I agree with nfmungard that regarding the Civil Rights Movement as an international precedent is highly problematic.

Author winterkjm
Partaker
#380 | Posted: 21 Jan 2021 17:55 | Edited by: winterkjm 
Ultimately, I am using this "outline" summary nomination to make my judgement. Yet, I suspect that there are real dangers about what an inscription means if handled inappropriately or poorly.

1) Nomination files and ICOMOS evaluations are almost never read by the public. The work by "The Georgia State University World Heritage Initiative" will very likely be an accurate account with excellent historical research I am sure, but . . . we know from previous nominations that dossiers can be different from what is on "display" on-site or official brochure literature.

2) World Heritage inscription could be interpreted by the public as an affirmation of American progress OVER racial discrimination, which would indeed be a troubling narrative linked to illogical declarations of a post-racial America.

For me, perhaps there is some selfishness in that I want to see many of these sites protected further (provided more funding and educational interpretation) and be tangible lessons of state sponsored oppression in the U.S. and the resilience and strength of those brave individuals who refused to accept the status quo. Only a handful of these serial components are well-known to the general public. The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration which opened in 2018 in Montgomery is very much an example of the more recent efforts to fully grapple with America's horrid past and present of racial injustice. If done right, perhaps this Civil Rights Movement nomination can as well. Yet, as Assif and nfmungard expressed reservations about such a nomination, both for OUV and potential white-washing, tentative nominations connected to social movements and recent conflict are already a controversial topic and will likely remain so.

Author winterkjm
Partaker
#381 | Posted: 21 Jan 2021 18:11 | Edited by: winterkjm 
mrayers:
I also spent some time listening to this interview, from late 2019, with Jonathan Putnam (the man who will receive the e-mails with comments) and he had some interesting thoughts about the process and WHS in general.

http://whc.unesco.org/en/oralarchives/jonathan-putnam/

Thanks so much for this! I listened to the whole thing and the same for Stephen Morris, who is also a key figure in the US world heritage program.

Author nfmungard
Partaker
#382 | Posted: 22 Jan 2021 01:31 
winterkjm:
I am a teacher in the United States and I promise you this is how we teach it (at least in most schools in Los Angeles and certainly my own)

My backdrop is Thomasville Georgia in the 90s where I spend a year in high school. I even saw the laser show at Stone Mountain with the "Proud to be American" soundrack running while confederate traitors were illuminated and praised. Maybe things have changed, but looking at the recent election I am not convinced. I don't think Los Angeles, California or the viewpoint of a seasoned international traveller are really representative of roughly 50% of the country.

I think the US has a tendency to not look much further than their own country. To give you a recent example of how little things have changed, ask yourself the question what country and company developed the first Corona vaccine? If you answer the US (Operation Warpspeed!) and Pfizer, you are again wrong and it bugs me dearly. The Biontech vaccine was developed in Germany (Mainz) and Pfizer only provided logistical support as well as manufacturing capabilites.

The fact that zero American newsoutlets report this correctly angers make greatly. It's akin to Foxcon claiming that the iPhone is theirs. And it should anger left leaning American, too, because having 2/3 vaccines orginating in the socialized medical systems of Europe clearly repudiates the supposedly superiority of the American health care system with regards to innovation.

Assif:
I agree with nfmungard that regarding the Civil Rights Movement as an international precedent is highly problematic.

Well summarized. It's probably this bit that I object, to. If the focus was on the specific dark history of the US, the slavery system and the Jim Crow era plus how African Americans overcame it, I think I would support it. But that would state that the US isnt all that great; not sure everyone is on board with that being stated by Unesco.

Author winterkjm
Partaker
#383 | Posted: 22 Jan 2021 02:01 | Edited by: winterkjm 
mrayers

I also spent some time listening to this interview, from late 2019, with Jonathan Putnam (the man who will receive the e-mails with comments) and he had some interesting thoughts about the process and WHS in general.

http://whc.unesco.org/en/oralarchives/jonathan-putnam/

This was one of the most interesting exchanges in the interview.

Responding to the question: Can you think of any decisions that really show that politicization in the last few years?

"Well, the worst incident I can recall, I think it was in Brasilia . . from what I heard, we literally had a note going around that all the committee members were going to support the other committee member nominations. So you can forget any kind of debate on technical or other merits. It was simply, you scratch my back, I will scratch yours. So, that is the most egregious example I can recall."

http://whc.unesco.org/en/oralarchives/jonathan-putnam (select 2.0 world heritage committee)

Here is a quote from our community about the WHC decisions in Brasilia 2010.
Solivagant:
Of 21 new sites which were inscribed the WHC didn't follow the original AB recommendation on 12 of them!!

Committee Members in 2010: Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Brazil, Cambodia, China, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, France, Iraq, Jordan, Mali, Mexico, Nigeria, Russian Federation, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, United Arab Emirates

Committee members who got nominations overturned in favor of inscription
- Australian Convict Sites (Australia) AB Evaluation Referral *Rating 2.44
- São Francisco Square in the Town of São Cristóvão (Brazil) AB Evaluation Deferral *Rating 2.08
- China Danxia (China) AB Evaluation Deferral *Rating 3.07
- Prehistoric Caves of Yagul and Mitla in the Central Valley of Oaxaca (Mexico) AB Evaluation Deferral *Rating 3.01
- Camino Real de Tierra Adentro (Mexico) AB Evaluation Referral *Rating 2.48

Author mrayers
Partaker
#384 | Posted: 22 Jan 2021 10:00 
winterkjm:
This was one of the most interesting exchanges in the interview.

I was also intrigued by Mr. Putnam's suggestion that the WHC should begin to concentrate less on new inscriptions and more on increasing conservation efforts for Sites that are already on the list.

Author winterkjm
Partaker
#385 | Posted: 24 Jan 2021 18:19 | Edited by: winterkjm 
nfmungard:
If the focus was on the specific dark history of the US, the slavery system and the Jim Crow era plus how African Americans overcame it, I think I would support it.

I was reading up a bit more, and I tried to make an objective view (feel free to disagree) about which components in the "Civil Rights Movement" nomination that are connected to "dark history" and which sites are more "aspirational". On top of the listed sites below, here is a comprehensive list from Georgia State University of Modern U.S. Civil Rights Movement Sites, which was used to compile all 13 components currently part of the nomination. Moreover, there could be an expanded nomination that links the Reconstruction Era (1863 - 1877), Jim Crow Era (1896 - 1954), and the Modern Civil Rights Era (1954 - 1969). This would require a comprehensive list of several dozen components, but would tell a more complete story of racial injustice in the United States.

Dark History [linked to domestic terrorism and violence] (5 components)

- Greyhound Bus Terminal and Bus Burning Site Anniston, Alabama (White mob attacked an integrated group of black and white Freedom Riders in May 1961)
- Medgar and Myrlie Evers House Jackson, Mississippi (Assassination site of Medgar Evers in June 1963)
- 16th Street Baptist Church Birmingham, Alabama (location of KKK bombing in September 1963, 4 girls were killed)
- Edmund Pettus Bridge Selma, Alabama (location of Bloody Sunday, March 1965 in which the police (along with a white mob) brutally beat peaceful protesters, several were hospitalized with severe injuries, John Lewis' skull was fractured)
- Lorraine Motel Memphis, Tennessee (Assassination site of MLK, April 1968)

Aspirational [linked to non-violent actions, organizing, and resisting racial injustice] (8 components)

- Bethel Baptist Church Birmingham, Alabama (Fred Shuttlesworth was pastor from 1953-1961, headquarters of Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights)
- Dexter Avenue Baptist Church Montgomery, Alabama (MLK was pastor from 1954-1960, organizing location Montgomery bus boycott, 1955)
- Monroe Elementary School Topeka, Kansas (Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site - 1954)
- Moton High School Farmville, Virginia (School integration efforts to end racial segregation in public schools - 1954)
- Central High School Little Rock, Arkansas (The "Little Rock Nine" enrolled in 1957 with National Guard protection)
- F. W. Woolworth Store Greensboro, North Carolina (Location of Greensboro sit-ins "whites only" lunch counters, 1960)
- Ebenezer Baptist Church Atlanta, Georgia (MLK was co-pastor from 1960-1968, location of MLK, John Lewis Funeral)
- Lincoln Memorial Washington, D.C. (March on Washington, August 1963 - "I Have a Dream" speech)

Regarding a U.S. nomination that might connect to Slavery and/or the Abolition of Slavery:

"There is great potential for a World Heritage nomination related to the Underground Railroad, but it should be based on a comprehensive study of the topic that would result in the inclusion of a greater range of sites and locations. In addition to U.S. sites, the phenomenon also involved other countries, especially Canada, but also Mexico, the Caribbean, and to a limited extent some European countries. There is also potential for a nomination that might include a
broader network of sites associated with the history of African slavery."
- U.S. National Commission for UNESCO (2008)

The UNESCO Slave Route Project - Could this Educational program be utilized to initiate a broad encompassing Slavery Route transnational nomination? Multiple countries have "Slave Route" TWHS and the US National Park Service has expressed a willingness to be involved in such discussions.

Specifically for the Civil Rights Movement Sites proposal, I would encourage those interested to publicly comment if you think the nomination should add additional components or broaden its scope. Lastly, the comment period ends January 26th for anyone who still wishes to comment on priority nominations or potential sites for inclusion on the US Tentative List.

U.S. Nominations to the World Heritage List; 15-Day Notice of Opportunity for Public Comment

Author Colvin
Partaker
#386 | Posted: 24 Jan 2021 19:35 | Edited by: Colvin 
nfmungard:
I think you could take a step back and try to understand why a foreigner may have a different perspective on the subject.

This is a fair point, and I do understand there are different positions on this nomination. I really don't want this conversation to become too personal, though, so if you took my rebuttal on the nomination personally, then I apologize, since I did not intend it that way.

I stand by my support of this nomination in the same way that I support the Human Rights, Liberation Struggle and Reconciliation: Nelson Mandela Legacy Sites TWHS from South Africa (showing how minority groups came together to fight the oppresive colonial legacy of apartheid in South Africa; I'd prefer to see the nomination as an extension to Robben Island, however) and the Gdansk - Town of Memory and Freedom TWHS from Poland (for the importance of the Solidarity Movement on effecting change in Eastern Europe at the end of the Cold War). I also realize that there is a hesitancy on the part of some as to what role sites related to "places of memory" should have on the UNESCO list. In that light, I can understand viewpoints that perhaps these 20th century nominations are too recent to warrant inclusion at this time, and it would be better to review them in future decades or centuries.

From my interpretation of the nomination, I don't think the US Civil Rights Movement Sites TWHS is solely about race, but about the effect of the movement on human rights overall. I also don't think it suggests that the US has succeeded in dealing with civil rights issues (it has not, as is likely abundantly clear to anyone who follows the US), nor do I believe the nomination is intended to pat the US on its back for its "woke"-ness. Instead, I interpret it as showing the effect a minority population had in implementing significant change for human rights within its country and inspiring such change in other parts of the world (such as Northern Ireland) during a specific period of time (the 1950's and 60's).*

*It is quite right to note that the Civil Rights movement in the US was not the first to push for civil rights, nor was it the last worldwide, and the movement did not come up with the policy of nonviolence -- Gandhi was a tremendous influence on US Civil Rights leaders (though nonviolence also predates Gandhi). It was the timing of the movement with the spread of television around the world, however, that made the movement accessible to people worldwide in the 1950's and 1960's. The movement created significant changes necessary within the US, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but it also had an international impact. With the visibility and example of Martin Luther King, Jr., who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, the UN's International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) was adopted in 1965. The CERD was itself a catalyst to the adoption of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic and Social Rights (ICESR) in 1966, integral parts of the International Bill of Human Rights.

ps. I'd agree with Nan that Civil Rights education was not taught equally in the US, at least when I was in school back in the 1990's. For many that I went to school with, history would culminate near the end of the school year with World War II, with only a week or two to cover the period of history from immediately post-WWII to the present. That was hardly enough time to deal with the Civil Rights movement. Fortunately, one of the Civil Rights leaders of the 1950's and 1960's was a professor at my college, and with books I have read and speakers I have listened to, I have learned more about the Civil Rights movement later in life. I don't believe the knowledge (or lack thereof) of Americans writ large about the Civil Rights movement (or about international affairs in general) should have any effect on the worthiness of this nomination. I would expect that if it were put forward, it would be properly contextualized.

Author Messy
Partaker
#387 | Posted: 12 Mar 2021 09:53 
I'm not sure if the Trump administration was still in denial when they announced the comment period. The department of the Interior was still in administrative chaos to some extent and they may have thought they could still be in office when the end date came. I don't know if the people who were supposed to be working on it were still there.

Author winterkjm
Partaker
#388 | Posted: 12 Mar 2021 10:36 | Edited by: winterkjm 
The primary leaders in the department (USNPS International Affairs) are civil servants that were all hired long before the Trump Administration. The notice was posted on January 11th. At this point everything was clear about who would be president on January 20th. In fact, US ICOMOS and the USNPS International Affairs have long been advocating for a return to UNESCO (including full payment of dues).

Author Colvin
Partaker
#389 | Posted: 18 Apr 2021 20:34 
Suffice to say, the World Heritage Sites in the United States are so spread out, many travelers will find themselves using a car at some point to reach some of them. The US has a number of scenic byways near (and in some cases in) many World Heritage Sites and Tentative World Heritage Sites that offer great landscapes and history for travelers. The US just updated their list of byways earlier this year for the first time in 12 years, and these byways are a fantastic way to see more of the US for anyone planning a WHS road trip.

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