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Father Flanagan and Boys from the Class of 1948

Did you know Boys Town has been named one of the first intentionally integrated communities in America?

In 1917, when Father Edward J. Flanagan opened his first Home for Boys, the United States was a segregated nation. Black and White soldiers in the U.S. military served in separated units. Interracial marriages were illegal in more than 30 states. Much of America’s Protestant majority believed that Catholics’ only loyalty was to the Pope, and those of the Jewish faith were too “foreign” to be “real Americans.”

That was not Father Flanagan’s way. At his Home for Boys, he welcomed everyone – regardless of race, religion or ethnic background. The boys lived as a family that embraced their own individual heritage and were all treated equally. While his efforts drew criticism from some in the Omaha community, Father Flanagan remained undeterred and his focus on his mission never wavered.   

When the segregation laws of the day prohibited him from continuing his Home for Boys in the city of Omaha, Flanagan bought Overlook Farm, well outside of the city limits, and moved his family of orphaned boys to their new home -- the Village of Boys Town. Today, Father Flanagan’s deep belief and fearless commitment to equality and inclusion remain a bedrock of Boys Town’s mission. 

In an article written by Heather Fryer, PhD, "Father Flanagan’s More Perfect Union: Pushing the Frontiers of Racial and Religious Inclusion at Boys Town," she explores and documents the ways Father Flanagan and his work at Boys Town helped propel America toward racial and religious inclusion. Fryer concludes in her article that, “as an Irish Catholic priest known worldwide for his moral character, and with plenty of white Catholic boys in need of care, Father Flanagan could easily have made racial equality and interreligious harmony somebody else’s concern. Yet he never turned away from discrimination or intolerance and confronted it with a determination and moral force that shook the hardened foundations of inequality just hard enough to crack them a bit wherever he went. The young people at Boys Town who experienced Father Flanagan’s realization of his religious and civic values learned that an integrated America was not a distant dream but a natural way to live.” 

Today, Father Flanagan’s original Home for Boys and the current Village of Boys Town are recognized as the first fully desegregated communities in the United States.

About the Author

Heather Fryer, PhD is an independent scholar, freelance writer and writing coach who served on the faculty of the History Department at Creighton University from 2004-2021. Her many published works include the documentary “Shinmachi: Stronger Than a Tsunami” (American Public Television, airing on PBS 2019-2024) and “Perimeters of Democracy: Inverse Utopias and the Wartime Social Landscape in the American West” (University of Nebraska Press, 2010). She considers her work on the biography for the Cause for Canonization of Father Edward J. Flanagan a highpoint in her career and continues to research the enduring impact of his work on American society and culture.

Hello everyone and thank you so much for joining us for our live video today. My name is Gabby, and I am here with two very special guests here to discuss how Boystown led America towards racial and religious inclusion, and more specifically how Father Edward Flanagan kind of spearheaded that effort. So we're here with Heather and Tom. Heather is on the other side of Tom here. Um, most of you know Tom from our hall of history, but we'll have you both introduce yourselves if you are a new watcher of Our Voice Town Live videos, um, starting with Heather.  

(···0.8s) Yeah. Hi everybody. Um, Gabby, thank you so much for having me. And Tom, it's so great to see you again. My name is Heather Fryer. Um, I am speaking you to, to you today from Haal, Hawaii, um, where I'm kind of a oral historian and filmmaker in residence. Um, I do work with, um, multi-ethnic communities in Hawaii to uncover their histories of inclusion and resilience, um, and to help people tell stories of kind of their old life ways so that we have that wisdom for the present.  

But before that, I was, um, an Omaha from 2004 to 2021. I taught at Creighton University. So some of (···0.6s) you out there, I may have crossed paths with you that way, um, in the history department and the program in American Studies.  

And now I, (···0.7s) in addition to working with communities here, do freelance historical work, I help people find their family histories, their community histories, um, and I coach writers and other people who wanna do that kind of work. But it's so nice to be back with you. Um, I, I have a very, (···0.5s) very, very, um, affectionate tie to Boystown because, um, thanks to Tom, I had the opportunity while I was at Creighton to work on Father Flanagan's biography as part of the team for his cause for canonization.  

And that's a story that I love to tell anytime I get the chance. So thanks for this opportunity. (···0.9s) Awesome. Well, it's great to have you on. And then Tom, tell us more about yourself and your long history with Boystown. (···0.7s) Hello, my name is Tom Lynch. Uh, I'm coming from Boystown today, actually. It's sunny and very warm at Boystown today. It's 75 degrees here. We're breaking a record, and it's my honor to join both Heather and yourself talking about Father flas ideas, inclusion, and diversity.  

I've been with Boystown for 39 years. I came right outta college as a, uh, employee here in the museum, and part of my job was organizing the archives at Boystown. So for many years I've worked with the papers of Father Flanagan, organizing them, sharing them with the public, and discussing his unique concepts and theories on inclusion, which were very revolutionary for his day. And even today are still groundbreaking in what he did. And it's been a privilege to be here at Boystown these years, meeting individuals who lived here at Boystown and went through the program and see the impact it had on their lives.  

So thank you allow for allowing me to join you today. (···1.0s) Wonderful. Well, it's great to have you both on, and we are going to go through several discussion questions here during this video that we have outlined. If you're tuning in live and you have a question for Heather or Tom over anything that we discussed, go ahead and leave it in the comments. Make sure you like this video. And if you're watching it later on, maybe tonight or within the next few days, go ahead and give it a share so more people can learn more about this incredible story we're about to tell.  

So (···0.6s) with that, February is Black History Month, which is an excellent time to have the discussion on how Father Flanagan and Boystown have really played their parts in helping to move America towards racial and religious religious equality and inclusion. (···0.6s) So, Tom, to understand, you know, how Father Flanagan and Boystown really contributed to this, we need to first start at the beginning.  

So tell us more about what the social climate was like in Omaha around race and religion at the time that Boystown was founded back in 1917 (···0.5s) When Father Flanagan came to America, he was an Irish immigrant. He was 18 years old, and he came to America to, uh, get away from discrimination, uh, based on his race and religion in Ireland because he was an English colony and they considered him being Irish and speaking, uh, the local dialect and being a Roman Catholic as being a foreign individual, even in his home country.  

So he grew up witnessing that type of behavior or discrimination. And when it came to Omaha in 1917, it was a very segregated city. There are pockets throughout the city where different ethnic groups lived, and within these ethnic groups, you stayed in your neighborhood, you worshiped there, you shop there. Very rarely would people cross the lines going to different neighborhoods. Uh, then also as a community, based on social class too, certain individuals own majority of wealth in the city.  

Uh, majority of people were new immigrants coming in, working meat packing plants, and on the railroads. So they really didn't have ma much of access to wealth there or political power. So it was a very strange community. Father flying came to when, (···0.8s) in 1917. And he discovered very quickly that it was a community where if you were poor, you were homeless, no one really cared or wanted you, and especially that applied to children. When he saw the children of the streets in downtown Omaha, he realized no one wanted these children.  

And they were especially boys 'cause girls usually be taken in to be servants. But he discovered the lowest individuals in the Omaha community in 1917 were these homeless boys living on the streets. Many of 'em from different races and religions, uh, in America at the time. They had the idea of eugenics. Eugenics had certain individuals superior to others, and unfortunately the bottom of the rung would be these children who came from different countries from around the world, spoke different languages. Their families maybe did not meet the social norm for the day.  

So they are considered, uh, the lowest of the low. And so that's the atmosphere. Father FLA came into Omaha in 1917. (···0.9s) Yeah. (···1.0s) And so because those tensions were so high around having boys of all different races, religions and backgrounds live together in one common area. You know, our founder, father Edward Flanagan, he really took a courageous step and (···0.9s) he went on to create his own town. So Tom, tell us more about the move to overlook and how impactful this was at a time where integration was so widely unaccepted.  

(···1.1s) Back in 1917, father Flank created Boystown and he took in the first group of children and he stated he would accept any child regards, race, religion, to live with them. And he had several buildings in the city. He had one on 25th and Dodge Street, which in downtown Omaha, he moved to another facility on 13th Street in the southern part of the city of Omaha. But that was a rented building. And about 1920, the people owned the facility, said they wanted to, uh, use it for different purposes, he needed to move on.  

Uh, he went throughout the city of Omaha to look for a new location. Everywhere he went, he encountered, uh, people not wanting him to move into the community. He actually made plans to buy a former Protestant, uh, seminary to move in there. And we have the newspaper articles from the collection where seven local churches and ministers came together and said they did not want Father Flanagan in his boys in their neighborhood, due to the fact that children were of different races and religions and Father Fla being a Catholic priest, that they did not want a Catholic priest in their neighborhood.  

So Father Flanagan in that atmosphere said, well, I'm gonna move to the country where I'll be free and independent to do whatever I want to. So in uh, 1920, later in that year, he bought, uh, land where the current village of Boystown is located. It was 10 miles from the city of Omaha. There was nothing here except farmland. He could come out and establish his community, be totally free and independent. And when he moved the boys here, he could only afford one truck. Saw little boys got the ride on the truck to come west, and the older boys had to walk, walk to their new home.  

It took them nine hours to march from the city to their new home. But once they were here, they were free and independent, and he could have any type of programming he wanted. But what he did from the very beginning though, in the entrance to the village of Boystown, he put a sign saying, all races, all creeds, welcome to live in my village. So from the very beginning, that was his, what he wanted the public to, uh, realize, but Boystown stood for. Okay. Yeah. (···0.8s) So Heather, you know, when you were learning about all of this incredible background and, and what a (···0.7s) important event that this was because it was just never done before.  

Tell us more about your work on Father Flanagan's More Perfect Union, pushing the frontiers of racial and religious inclusion at Boystown. What inspired you to write this beyond the history? (···1.0s) Ah, you know, probably (···2.1s) what, 2015 or so that I was working with Tom and some other people on writing the biography of Father Flanagan.  

Yeah. And most people, I think, think of and reasonably think of Father Flanagan as a real pioneer in child welfare, which he absolutely was. (···0.6s) But, you know, I came to this with a background of having written pretty extensively on the history of race and, um, racial discrimination, social movements, and especially the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War ii. (···1.4s) And as I was working on the biography, one of the things that came out in our conversations and in what I was seeing in the records (···0.7s) was that (···0.7s) Boystown was (···1.5s) so incredibly integrated.  

Like I was noticing things like (···1.4s) it was fairly common, um, to have maybe a community where that was integrated, but what integration meant mm-hmm. Was that people were brought together and they lived in separate areas because segregation was still seen as the norm.  

Um, this wasn't what I was seeing. I was seeing photographs and images of boys at Boystown where everybody was completely integrated and altogether, and this really started to get my radar pinging. Yeah. I said a little bit about this in the biography that went into the cause, but I kind of put this on the back burner because I thought (···0.8s) it is possible.  

I (···1.3s) wanted to do some checking. But it is possible that Boystown was the first place in the United States (···1.2s) where (···1.0s) people of all races of religions were not just (···0.9s) accepted or tolerated, (···0.9s) but where the, the baseline expectation was that everybody would live together as citizens, as family, as Americans. And after doing quite a bit of checking, (···0.6s) I am very confident that this is our first fully integrated community in the United States.  

(···0.7s) An integrated meaning (···1.0s) that, um, there is kind of an ethos of people of all races and creeds belong here because as Tom said, (···1.3s) father Fla and experienced racial and religious discrimination himself, but also because of the way that Father Flanagan understood the growth and development of children, (···1.1s) where his counterpart in Council Bluffs was saying that (···1.2s) children are just biologically bad seeds.  

Right. The kid, the throwaway children that Tom was talking about. And, and, and he's talking about (···1.0s) children of color, Catholics, Jews. Right. These are just throwaway people. Father Flanagan was saying, you know, the problem really is what he called the foul seed of prejudice. That didn't just prevent those boys who were discriminated against from growing into their God-given gifts and talents, but also white children (···0.6s) because it created narrow-minded and (···0.8s) kind of internally, um, almost violent, not peaceful, and not able to build a (···1.0s) good America.  

(···0.9s) His thinking was so forward looking. If you think about the fact that Father Flanagan passed away in 1948. 1948 was the year that President Truman desegregated the Armed forces, which was the beginning of formal desegregation in American life.  

And that, to me is remarkable that before there was all of that, there was Father Flanagan just living it out. Mm-Hmm. Would you add anything, Tom? (···0.6s) I I think Heather is correct. Uh, totally. I mean, this was a unique community. We have former boys telling us they arrived from all different parts of America, and they'd be shocked 'cause they'd walk 'em into a dormitory and they'd say, okay, you're gonna live in this dormitory with these boys.  

And they saw boys of different races or religions. They had never encountered that before. And it took 'em a few days to accept that. But after a while, they realized they're just kids just like them. And everybody got along and worked together. So it was eye opening for a lot of these men. And they went home to their communities and, and shared those views with their families and friends there saying, why are we discriminated against this individual due the race and religion? I just said Boystown knew someone of that race and religion.  

They're, they're a beautiful human being. Uh, I loved them as my brother. Mm-Hmm. (···0.9s) I love what you said too, Heather, about, you know, it wasn't just tolerated, but it was encouraged and it was expected that when you came to Boystown, you know, father outlined it as this is how it is and there's not a way around it. And if you're at Boystown, this is how we do it. (···0.6s) And like Tom said, you know, it, it didn't seem so out of the ordinary for those that were there because it was their norm.  

(···1.0s) It was. And, and I think there's such a wonderful model even for today, because let's be honest, you know, we are still trying to work out what true inclusion (···0.7s) and true equity looks like. Right. And (···0.6s) in some ways Father Flanagan achieved it by not (···1.3s) overemphasizing it. Mm-Hmm. (···0.6s) He had a leadership style that was just about doing what was right.  

You know, he sort of set his course and said, we have a real trouble in this country with prejudice that undercuts our values as American citizens. You know, father Flanagan is a very committed Catholic, he was also very committed to American values. And he talked about that as American values. (···0.8s) Mm-Hmm. And, um, because of that, he just set the stage for what inclusion would look like. Right. So, you know, you have the beautiful Dowed Chapel, but you also have a Jewish temple. You also have services for Protestants.  

Um, boys come in and no one is really talking about what race, religion, you know, what their ethnicity is. (···0.7s) But at the same time, father Flanagan will let you know that he was a proud Irish Catholic man. He did not pretend that he wasn't Irish. Mm-Hmm. And he encouraged the boys to do the same. Um, they had (···0.9s) in events, for example, in school where it would be like a, a League of Nations or a United Nations.  

Right. And all of the boys were encouraged to speak from the perspective (···0.8s) of their own, you know, racial or ethnic group. Right. And this was a place where everybody understood that people had different backgrounds. (···0.6s) And yet that was not relevant because the larger point at Boystown (···0.5s) is to create great young men who can create a great world for the rest of us. And that's a very easy principle to buy into.  

And there's no place for prejudice there. Mm-Hmm. Yeah. (···1.4s) And Heather, in your, in your AR article, you made a point to mention that, you know, father Flanagan could have easily made racial equality someone else's concern, someone else's problem. But Mm-Hmm. (···0.9s) As our incredible founder is up for sainthood, explain how this was such a testament to who Father Flanagan was as a person. (···1.1s) I think that there are several dimensions to this.  

I think that the baseline dimension probably is that if a child was suffering Mm-Hmm. Or if Father Flanagan was in a position to prevent a child from suffering and becoming someone who's suffering, (···1.0s) stayed with them their whole life, and then their talents were wasted, he was going to intervene. Yeah. But there's also a really interesting political and and social principle here too. (···0.6s) You know, prior to the Civil Rights Movement and even during the Civil Rights Movement, the thinking was (···0.9s) what pertained to the wellbeing of, (···0.7s) we'll say black people?  

'cause it's Black History Month was for black people to deal with. Mm-Hmm. Right. So if you're concerned about the welfare of black children, that's a problem for black people. White people don't need to be concerned about this. Racial prejudice, religious discrimination, that's not a problem for us. (···0.8s) Father Flanagan (···0.9s) made that, (···0.6s) I would say, (···1.0s) as much a matter of his work in the world as child welfare, because the two were very intricately, intricately tied.  

(···0.6s) If you can't accept a person for their humanity, if you can't see past that, then we can't do anything for our children because we're gonna keep injuring them (···0.8s) through discrimination, whether they are the child who's discriminated against, (···0.6s) or that the child who learns the lie of discrimination and carries with them the fouls seed into the next generation.  

Um, so I think that this really speaks to an insight (···0.7s) that (···0.7s) is more mainstream today. But for him, it's very hard to know where it would have come from, were it not from a very (···0.6s) deep faith that (···0.6s) turned out a lot of the noise (···0.6s) of the time and place that he was living in.  

Uh, he was involved in politics, but he didn't accept the framework that society is set up by different races of people who are inferior and superior to one another. (···0.5s) Nor did he have the belief that, um, people who did not practice Catholicism were in some way not worthy or part of our society or the world that we're trying to create together. And I think that's not an intellectual thing. I think that's a, (···0.8s) that's something else.  

And, and, and maybe I would leave that to my theology colleagues to, to speak to what that, what that is. Mm-Hmm. Yeah. Tom, what would you add? (···1.1s) I would add that everything Heather said is so true (···0.6s) and Father Flay considered racial discrimination, uh, and religious discrimination as a cancer on American society. He described that. And he said, children learn that when they're younger. And that he actually gave it a age. He said, by about age 10, a child can be made racist.  

That's why at Voice Town we talk about teach love. And that's what he advocated here, teaching children love. If you teach children from a early age to accept everyone regardless to race, religion, you're gonna have society where everyone lives together in harmony. And that's what he witnessed here at Boystown with the thousands of boys that came to live with him, uh, how race had sometimes ruined the lives of some of these children. 'cause not all children could stay here. They would come and not accept their fellow students here of different races, religions, and Father would not allow them to stay.  

Then he said, if you are going to come here and cause trouble and not accept the fellow students, then you, you cannot be, you cannot stay here at Boystown. (···1.0s) Mm-Hmm. Yeah. (···2.0s) Thank you everyone for tuning in live. I see we've got a number of viewers both on Facebook and Instagram. So, uh, please make sure you double tap and like this video. And if you have any questions as we continue to chat, please leave them in the comments. (···1.9s) Okay. So, (···0.6s) you know, Heather, you mentioned this through your research.  

You found out that today Father Flanagan's original home for boys and the current village of Boystown have been named one of the first intentionally integrated communities in the United States. So Tom, would you give us a little bit of background of what that means? (···0.8s) What that means is Father FLA created a community here that is a role model for the rest of the United States because it's a community that's been here for a hundred years and it shows how children can come and live together and even adults.  

'cause the staff here is a very diverse staff at Boystown. Even in Father Flag's time, as Heather mentioned, the Japanese Americans who were interned, they actually came and lived here with the kids in the village of Boystown and were trusted employees and Father Fla and welcomed them as their equals when they came to live here. And so it's, it's a community that people visit every year, uh, and exist in the city of Omaha. And people drive by us every day. And I don't think they quite realize the uniqueness of our community, of Boystown that we have here.  

That this is an example of how American can function as a, as a unit and as a family to gather. And that's exactly exactly what Father Fla wanted. He wanted this to be a role model for the rest of the United States, if not the world, on racial and religious tolerance. (···1.9s) Mm-hmm. Yeah. (···0.9s) And integrating that community was no easy feat for Father Flanagan, as we've discussed. Tom, what other challenges occurred after the move to overlook (···0.8s) After the move to overlook the, uh, home faced financial trouble?  

Because Father Flay accepted no funding from any religious organization or community program because of their policies. Because they would say children had to be raised a certain way following a certain faith, or you could only serve certain children, maybe a children of a certain race would not be accepted at the time in the program. And Father flying said, no, I'm only gonna accept donations from the American public that really wanna support me. And we have some of his fundraising campaigns here.  

And he had, he would put pictures of the children lived here. And one gentleman wrote in saying he objected to the fact that there were African American children here. And father wrote back saying, you're not a very good American if you think that because I'm gonna serve all children. And you have to get a better attitude on how you look at children and how your fellow American citizens. So he had issues with, uh, working with, uh, schools too. 'cause sometimes the, the school administration state of Nebraska did not like his schools 'cause he had totally integrated schools both for religion and race at the time.  

So they would come out and put extra kind of limits on what he could do to have a school here and with teaching and, and different subjects. So it was, uh, he had incidents where people would come and try to stop him. Even a Ku Klux Klan at different times, uh, objected to what Father Flange did with his traveling shows going around and not allowing them to perform in towns communities. Same thing with our sports teams. Our football teams, as they traveled, encountered discrimination even into the 1960s. We still encountered that.  

Uh, that's partly why we weren't allowed to join the Nebraska, uh, high school leagues until the 1960s. Schools objected 'cause we had different children races and religions living here. So it's always been an ongoing ballot, Boystown, to keep our, our standard of accepting all children of race to religion. But we always go back to Father Flanagan. He did it at a time of great hatred. And we continue that on today here in the village of Boystown. (···0.6s) Mm-Hmm. (···0.6s) And if you visited the Boystown Hall of History, you will see the big bus within the hall of history.  

And that is what father and his boys drove around when they had to travel very far for those sporting events because they couldn't play any Omaha teams. So, Mm-Hmm. If you haven't visited, make sure you come out and see it. And if you're not close to Omaha, we do have virtual tours on our website as well. (···2.2s) Okay. So the next question, Heather, how did Father Flanagan's deep belief and efforts in integrating Boystown serve as an example for the rest of America to follow in pursuing racial and religious equality and inclusion?  

(···1.0s) Yeah, he gives us a number of examples that I think any of us can do. Actually even today. I think we can do them and I think they would be really effective. You know, one one thing just to kind of pick up on, on what Tom was saying about the challenges that Father Flanigan encountered was he was absolutely uncompromising where racism and religious discrimination were concerned. So wherever he saw it, even if it was from a donor, even if it was from, you know, the hotel that was supposed to lodge the football team and then said that nobody could stay there because it was a mixed group of kids, um, even if it was from the United States government saying it's actually wrong on principle to incarcerate a group of people simply on the basis of their race and ethnicity.  

(···0.6s) He was really consistent in that view. (···0.5s) Not in an angry fiery way, you know, but just (···0.6s) where, where there was racism, he pushed back against it no matter who it was.  

And I would venture to say sometimes, even if he had to make the calculation of this could actually be harder for me in the mission of creating Boystown, and yet this is so important to me, I won't compromise on this. I could not find an incident anywhere where he compromised. (···0.7s) But also on (···0.6s) the day-to-day level, you know, not all of us can be (···0.5s) the great exemplars of change in civil rights.  

I don't think in my lifetime I'm going to be Ella Baker or Martin Luther King, um, you know, or Malcolm X or Stokely Carmichael or you know, any of the wonderful, you know, I'm not Maya Angelou, I'm none of these voices, but what I am is a person in the world who encounters other people in the world (···0.8s) and how we connect with them every day.  

You know, do we greet them and we embrace them as one of us? Or do we size them up and decide where their compartment is? And when a child came to Boystown and met Father Flanagan, didn't matter who they were, they were met with love, (···0.6s) they were met with, you know, interest in who that child was as an individual. They often got candy from Father Flanagan's candy drawer. And it didn't matter who they, who they were. I think any of us can do that appreciating and approaching people (···0.6s) with an openness, a curiosity, and an assumption that they are more like us and part of us than they are different from us.  

And, and a potential problem for us. (···0.6s) I just, there's one other thing that Father Flanagan did as well, (···0.7s) I think is really worth mentioning. And that is (···0.8s) he not only taught the kids, you know, to not be racist through his example and through just the way that they lived every day, (···0.6s) but he also brought people to Boystown.  

He brought people like the music teacher, Dan d Dune, who was an African-American musician, Patrick Kora, who's a Japanese American psychologist. And these people, these, these men (···0.5s) were mentors and teachers to the kids, (···0.7s) kids of every race, including white kids, which was unheard of in that time. But it taught those kids, I can learn from anybody a it again to sort of not see race as the salient fact.  

Right. But to be able to take leadership and, and, and, and grow with anybody. And that's that we can all grow together. And that's what Father Flanigan taught. (···2.1s) Yes. (···0.9s) So today, Tom, how does Boystown continue to implement Father Flanagan's inclusive values? Uh, Boystown since our founding over a hundred years ago, has continued the same policies. Father Flanagan taught and showed us how to lead.  

Our boys and girls still live in homes mixed by race, age, and religion. They go to school together, they worship together. Our staff is a group of individuals from different backgrounds, different races, different religions, different ages, all here together working for the children of Boystown. And again, it's been that way since our founding of Boystown. (···0.8s) As Heather mentioned, we had the Japanese attorneys here after World War ii. Uh, the home actually took in, uh, Holocaust survivors who stayed and worked here in the village of Boystown too.  

So we've always had those diverse ideas and concepts. (···0.5s) I always like to say many of these concepts are discussed. We've actually been living it here at Boystown for a hundred years. And we're a sustained community that shows living together, uh, with different backgrounds, different races, different religions. Is is the future of America, and we're the future of America created by Father Fla over a hundred years ago. And I would encourage people to come out and visit the Village of Boystown, learn what we're doing, come to the Hall of history.  

We have a black history display in the museum right now talking about the great individuals who've taught here at Boystown or impacted our children of Boystown. And people are always encouraged to come and learn more about our community. Mm-Hmm. Yes, please come visit. We would absolutely love to see you, Heather. Is there anything else that you would like to mention in our discussion today on what stood out to you about Father Flanagan in your work? (···1.4s) You know, I just think, um, the foresight and the courage that Father Flanagan showed, um, the fact that he saw beyond the politics of the time and really helped us vision a better version of ourselves and a better version (···0.6s) of America.  

(···1.1s) I, (···0.8s) I still (···0.7s) really marvel at that fact when I think about where the United States was during the course of his lifetime. You know, again, the armed services, black and white soldiers could not serve together in the same regimen until 1948 in my lifetime.  

It was not considered constitutionally, you know, legal, um, or constitutionally guaranteed that, that, um, partners of different races could marry. That was 1967. And you know, here is Boystown living as a family. Um, and, and the thing that inspires me about that is not just the question of racial inclusion, although it does.  

And I think this, again, this is a model that, you know, we can all draw from, (···0.6s) but what can any of us see for our future? Where can any of us look beyond the stuff of the present day, the things that are just illusions like race and like religious difference was, (···0.9s) and can we use Father Flanagan's example of really envisioning a different, more just world If we just return to that simple principle that there's no such thing as a bad boy or a bad person, there's bad social environments.  

What can we do to undercut the bad things in the social environment, to bring about so much of the good of (···0.5s) what America was created to be, is meant to be. And if we work at it, we'll become mm-Hmm. (···1.7s) Yes. And I think we can all work, work on it little by little, just as you said.  

You know, we don't have to be this big outward person like Malcolm X or MLK and those names you mentioned, but we all can do a little bit each day. So I appreciate that. (···0.8s) Awesome. Well, thank you both so much for joining us. This has been one of my favorite chats. You know, we've done a lot over the past four years for me, but this was very, very enjoyable and I learned a lot and I'm sure many people watching did. So thank you for joining. (···0.7s) Oh, thank you. Thank you. Wonderful. Well, we have Heather's article linked above.  

If you're watching on Facebook, if you're watching on YouTube, I'll make sure to put it in the description so you can go ahead and read it. (···0.6s) And thank you all so much for tuning in, and we will catch you next time. Have a good one. Bye. (···2.6s)