The symbolism of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum’s role in the COVID fight

One year to the day when the museum was closed amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum became a site for COVID-19 vaccinations. The Monday-only clinic is expected to run for the next six weeks.



March 17, 2021 - 9:51 AM

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Mo., is dedicated to preserving the history of African-American baseball, when black players were prohibited from joining the major league teams. Now, the museum doubles as a COVID-19 vaccination clinic site on Mondays. Photo by Mark Taylor / Chicago Tribune / TNS

On the first Monday after the abrupt shutdown from the pandemic in mid-March last year, Bob Kendrick sat in the lobby of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and pondered the implications of a phenomenon that felt surreal.

The museum suddenly had closed the day before and wouldn’t reopen for nearly three months. So even though it was a day on which it normally wouldn’t be open, Kendrick still felt a flood of emotions. All at once, he thought about how precious so much of what we take for granted might be; the sense of an impending shift in the world as we knew it; what he could do to help … and a certain hollowness.

“Now every day is kind of like Monday,” he said then, managing a laugh. “Most people don’t like Mondays.”

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