KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Chris Goode, owner of Ruby Jean’s Juicery on east 30th Street and Troost Avenue, is pushing to change the narrative along the street by changing the name, due to its ties to slavery.
“These green signs have blood dripping down them quite literally,” Goode said.
Walking in his truth, Goode is working to clean up Troost Avenue one step at a time.
“This nagging thing in my spirit said, 'Chris, you got to go after what is real on this street,'” Goode said.
Troost Avenue has a dark past, not only known as the red line, or dividing line of Kansas City, Missouri, but it’s named after Dr. Benoist Troost — a physician, developer and slave owner.
“Troost is negative, Troost was a slave owner, Troost is the red line,” Goode said. “If I’m going to put my blood, my sweat, my tears, my passion into this land, into this business, I don’t believe that I should have to have do it under the brand of a racist, of a former slave owner.”
In order to change the name and narrative, Goode started a petition “Truth over Troost” to reflect what this corridor means today.
“Changing Troost to Truth — it’s a 180,” Goode said. “There’s tons of nonprofits, tons of new businesses, tons of new homeowners, tons of resident development, tons. Hundreds and millions of dollars of development are taking place along this corridor. It doesn’t stand for racism, it doesn’t stand for hatred, it stands for unity and it’s happening.”
Goode says that as a Black man and business owner, it does not sit right with him to operate along a road that is named after someone who stood for hate.
“To be Black in this country is to give amazing effort and to still start and exist from behind, and that stems from the heinous act of slavery,” Goode said. “Here we are in 2022, still operating and giving that amazing love and that creativity and that output under the guise of that same slavery that set us behind as a people. It makes no sense.”
Goode, a KCMO native, says he wants to rewrite the history of Troost Avenue for the next generation.
“Truth is honesty, truth is genuineness, truth is welcoming, truth is progressive, truth is healing,” Goode said. “You can’t heal behind lies and murder and hatred and dishonesty. You can heal behind truth, behind embracing your truth, and that’s all I’m asking — is that we embrace the truth of what happened and move past it."
Goode is now drawing a red line in history, not one to divide but to drive the truth of life along the Troost corridor.
“This isn’t the red line of Kansas City anymore, it’s not,” Goode said. “Let’s unify it with a branding. Let’s re-brand this corridor from Troost with a small lower case to truth, to celebrate truth and move this city forward in truth."