‘Truth over Troost’: A Kansas City business owner’s effort to reconcile with the past

Troost Avenue was named after Dr. Benoist Troost who, according to historical records, owned slaves.
Published: Jul. 6, 2022 at 9:49 AM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - The owner of Ruby Jean’s Juicery recently launched the “Truth over Troost” petition in an effort to get the street renamed.

Chris Goode, whose business stands on the corner of 30th Street and Troost Avenue, said his petition has gained hundreds of signatures. He has already taken his idea to the full City Council, the office of Mayor Quinton Lucas and other city offices. His hope is to get leaders on board, especially with the stigma behind the name of Troost Avenue.

Troost Avenue was named after Dr. Benoist Troost who, according to historical records, owned slaves. And as years went on, Troost Ave became a redline.

Redlining was a discriminatory practice that kept Black people from being able to buy homes. It also created a clear line of segregation with Black people living east and White people living west of the street.

While redlining is now illegal, the impacts can still be seen between Kansas City’s east and west sides.

Chris Goode launched the petition called “Truth over Troost” in an effort to get the street renamed.

According to Goode, Troost Avenue is finally at a place where it’s moving on from such a difficult past, so the history behind the name doesn’t represent the street or Kansas City’s trajectory today.

He said truth is a way to cut through barriers and bring all people together, just like he does with his business.

“The people that walk in this door are all shapes, all sizes, all colors, all creeds, all nationalities, all religions, all political orientations. It doesn’t stand for division. We don’t stand for division. We shouldn’t stand under a name that means nothing but division,” Goode said.

While Goode’s petition is nearing 500 signatures, he said it’s not about the number of names but more the community engagement for this idea.

He plans to host listening sessions at Ruby Jean’s and other businesses along the Troost Avenue corridor to hear what others have to say.

According to Goode, changing the name would be a step forward in reconciling the wrongs of the past.

You can find Goode’s petition here.