Glenn T. Eskew has an abiding interest in southern history having taught the subject at Georgia State University since 1993. Currently he heads the university's World Heritage Initiative, an effort to develop a serial nomination of U. S. civil rights sites for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List. His But for Birmingham: The Local and National Movements in the Civil Rights Struggle (1997) received the Francis Butler Simkins Award from Southern Historical Association and Longwood College for the best book in southern history by a new author. His biography, Johnny Mercer: Southern Songwriter for the World (2013), received the Bell Award from the Georgia Historical Society and was selected as a Choice outstanding academic title. Currently he is writing a history of civil rights monuments, museums, and institutions in the Deep South. Eskew serves on a number of national, regional, state, and local boards, and promotes historic preservation and public history.
The Georgia State University Center for Neighborhood and Metropolitan Studies, Department of History, and Heritage Preservation Program are developing a Serial Nomination of U.S. Civil Rights Sites for potential inscription on the World Heritage List. This project expands the initial proposal of the three Alabama churches on the 2008 U. S. World Heritage Tentative List by adding additional National Historic Landmarks and possibly other sites associated with the Modern Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. The Initiative is preparing materials for the National Park Service (NPS) to determine if the nomination should move forward. Ultimately the decision to inscribe the sites on the World Heritage List will be made by the World Heritage Committee of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The GSU World Heritage Initiative coordinates the efforts of property owners, stakeholders, scholars, and preservationists by working with them to prepare a draft Serial Nomination for the National Park Service Office of International Affairs to submit to the World Heritage Committee.