KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Troost Avenue has long been a dividing line in Kansas City, Missouri. It’s named for a former slave owner.
Now a Troost business owner has come up with a new name he believes better represents the current street — Truth.
Kansas City’s famed fountain near the entrance of the Country Club Plaza, no longer has a name.
Chris Goode, then a Parks and Rec Commissioner, pointed out the site of 2020 racial justice protests was named for JC Nichols, instrumental in red lining, setting up racial divisions mostly on the east and west sides of Troost Avenue.
“Troost has had a history of divisiveness. It’s had a history where its the dividing line between poverty and prosperity separation line for race,” said Operation Breakthrough CEO Mary Esselman.
Now a Troost Avenue business owner, Goode would learn Troost was named for Benoist Troost, an 18th century Kansas City physician and slave owner.
“When I started to dig into it further not only is there this permeating connotation of negativity, separation, and division there’s this man honored above that separation and division that owned people,” Goode said.
He’s sent a memo to city officials asking the name be changed to Truth Avenue and started a change.org petition called Truth Over Troost.
“Truth doesn’t have a color attached to it. Truth doesn’t have anything attached to it but progress,” he said.
Progress like the bridge connecting the new Ignition Lab for student STEM skills to Operation Breakthrough.
“When we put in the bridge though literally it was providing safety figuratively it was really a celebrating of joining two sides of the city that had been very very separated,” Esselman said.
Goode said he’s sure there will be detractors like there were with efforts to rename the Paseo. But he said its an opportunity for Kansas City to embrace the truth of its past, and to bridge the divide.
“I don’t worry about the two groups of opposition I worry about that third much larger group that collective voice of Kansas City that is a resounding yes. That enough is enough,” Goode said.
So what happens next? Goode said unlike the Parks Board the city doesn’t have an official renaming process. But he plans to hold listening sessions to gauge public interest.
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