“‘Tulsa’s Black Wall Street Booming in the Midst of Jim Crow,’” reads Guy Troupe from his coffee shop, Black Wall Street Liquid Lounge, at 10 N. Greenwood Ave., Suite 101.
It’s one of a dozen headlines on the wall written by Troupe to serve as a timeline of the historic neighborhood. “In the midst of some of the worst times in the country, people of color were thriving in business,” he explains.
The statement is still relevant today. A steady stream of customers flows through the shop, grabbing coffee or a breakfast sandwich, or attending a meeting at one of the tables in the back room, an area Troupe makes available to the community.
A graduate of Booker T. Washington High School, Troupe left Tulsa for more than three decades. He worked for the NCAA and NFL, coaching athletes on life skills, financial literacy, career transition and life after sports. Troupe launched his athletic consulting company in 2003.
Five years ago, a consulting deal with Oklahoma State University brought him back to Oklahoma. When that ended, he came home.
“I decided it was time to do my part to pour into the community I left 35 years ago,” says Troupe, who runs the shop with wife Yvette and Operating Manager Dwight Eaton, who is based in Houston.
The coffee is all sourced from Africa, including Tulsan Clifton Taulbert’s Roots Java brand. However, Troupe hopes customers will leave with more than a cup — he wants to impart knowledge of Black Wall Street, and support business start-ups. Menu items are named for the neighborhood’s founders, such as O.W. Gurley, and historic photos line the walls.
“It’s an energy and vibrancy we’re trying to create,” Troupe says.