- Associated Press - Thursday, May 5, 2016

BOYS TOWN, Neb. (AP) - Boys Town National Headquarters will soon have a new statue to recognize that hardship isn’t exclusive to one race or gender.

Omaha sculptor Matthew Placzek is creating a new statue to replace the symbolic two brothers art currently sitting at the entrance. The new statue is of an older boy carrying a smaller girl on his back. The girl is white, and the young man is black.

Boys Town was founded by Father Edward J. Flanagan in 1917 as an orphanage for boys. It has since grown into a pioneering nonprofit organization for troubled youth with 400 boys and girls living on the Omaha campus and about a dozen facilities around the U.S.

Boys Town historian Tom Lynch said he believes that Flanagan would have embraced the new statue.

“He envisioned that Boys Town would keep changing over the decades,” Lynch said.

Placzek is designed the young man to resemble a former Boys Town mayor, Anthony Cornelius. The girl is a compilation of several girls’ photos.

“I felt a certain responsibility to portray it in a way they can be proud of,” Placzek said.

Lynch said that the image of a boy carrying a girl has already been incorporated in the nonprofit’s other branding, including on stationary.

The new statue will be installed on the campus when the organization celebrates its 100th anniversary next year. The old statue, created in the 1970s, will then be moved to the Boys Town Hall of History museum.

Girls have been admitted to Boys Town since 1979. The organization was called Girls and Boys Town from 2000 to 2007, but that name was dropped because it created too much confusion with Boys & Girls Clubs, Lynch said.

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