It was not much - a mobile home in a Mississippi trailer park with a monthly rent of $275.
Erica Dunahoo and her husband, National Guardsman Stanley Hoskins, believed they could turn it into a home for them and their two children.
But the couple had reckoned without the attitude of trailer park owner Gene Baker, and apparently that of his neighbours. The husband-and-wife were not welcome, they were reportedly told, because they were an interracial couple.
“Me and my husband, not ever in 10 years have we experienced any problem,” Ms Dunahoo, who is Hispanic and Native American, told the Clarion-Ledger newspaper. Her husband is African American.
“Nobody’s given us dirty looks. This is our first time.”
Ms Dunahoo, 40, and her 37-year-old husband, Mr Hoskins, got in contact with Mr Baker in February.
“We were trying to save money to get our life on track,” she said. “He was real nice,” she said. “He invited me to church and gave me a hug. I bragged on him to my family.”
She said the next day, the owner telephoned her and said told her: “Hey, you didn’t tell me you was married to no black man.” She said he claimed the couple were “shacking”.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was supposed to end discrimination on the basis of race. In Mississippi, marriages between white and black Mississippians remained illegal until 1967 when the US Supreme Court overturned the ban.
Mr Baker could not be contacted on Monday. However, the newspaper said that trailer park owner had confirmed that he asked the couple to leave and returned their money. He reportedly said he had acted as he had because “the neighbours were giving me such a problem.”
Ms Dunahoo, who uses her own name despite being married, complained to the state offices of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP). The organisation has launched an inquiry.
“Racial discrimination should be a thing of the past in Mississippi, considering our long history,” said Derrick Johnson, president of the Mississippi chapter.
Mr Hoskins has been a member of the National Guard for 13 years and served in Afghanistan.
“My husband ain’t no thug. He’s a good man,” said Ms Dunahoo. “My husband has served his country for 13 years.”
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