Grambling alumnus alleges company racism

RaceTrac/Way owner and Grambling State University alumnus Eric Banks said that he is a victim of Raceway Petroleum’s racism.

Banks owns one of the two Black-owned RaceTracs in the country.Banks said that he and his family were given a notice of eviction with about three months to leave and told that they were no longer the “right fit” for their Ruston location.

He alleged that company executives retaliated when responding to e-mails addressing their agreement disputes.

“RaceTrac has strong armed and intimidated black operators for too long while ‘pumping’ hundreds of millions of dollars from black communities with virtually no black ownership,” said Banks.

Raceway Petroleum Vice President Bill Milam said that Banks was terminated within the contract’s specifications, according to an e-mail between Banks and a journalist who previously covered the story.

Also according to the e-mail, Milam said that whenever Milam attempted to contact Banks, he didn’t respond.

Attempts to contact Raceway Petroleum representatives were unsuccessful before press time.

Raceway’s history is also one of family entrepreneurs. It began as one gas station in Highland Park, NJ.

As gas station competition intensified, patrons sought quality from independent businesses.

Traditionally, these customers expected services from major oil companies.
Raceway locations are noted for keeping coffee, newspapers, cigarettes, and dairy products as staples in the convenience stores for low prices.

Banks said Raceway Petroleum has a “long and well-documented history of failing to offer equal access and opportunity to Black owners.”

“When we do have an opportunity, the company makes every effort to undermine our success,” said Banks, who purchased the gas station in 2008.

Banks requested a boycott of the company.