An RV park owner in Tupelo, Mississippi, admits that he evicted a husband and wife from their newly-rented trailer, and the victims say it’s because they’re an interracial couple.
USA Today reports that Erica Flores Dunahoo, 40, and her husband were evicted from their home in late February simply because of the color of her husband’s skin. Dunahoo is Hispanic and Native American and her husband Stanley Hoskins, 37, a National Guardsman who served in Iraq, is black. The couple has been married for 13 years, and according to Dunahoo, this is the first time they’ve experienced such blatant racism.
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) April 3, 2016
“Me and my husband, not ever in 10 years have we experienced any problem. Nobody’s given us dirty looks. This is our first time.”
The couple, who have a young daughter, found the trailer in early February, renting for $275. Dunahoo said that they were trying to save money and get their life back on track, and the rent price seemed like a great deal.
She met the owner, Gene Baker, without her husband present, who she claimed was nice to her, shook her hand, and invited her to church. The next day, however, things changed when Baker learned about Dunahoo’s husband. She recalled a phone conversation she had with Baker the following day.
“He said ‘Hey, you didn’t tell me you was married to no black man.’ I said, ‘Whoa wait a minute, who is this?’ He said, this is Mr. Baker. And um he said, ‘The one that you rented that land from.’ And I said, ‘Well Mr. Baker, you know I didn’t think it was important or a problem.’ He said, ‘Oh, it’s a big problem….with the members of my church, the community, my mother in law, they can’t have that, they won’t have that white and black shacking stuff.'”
Dunahoo then corrected Baker and told them that she wasn’t “shacking,” and that she was married to Hoskins. Baker allegedly said that it didn’t matter and it was the same thing. Dunahoo, clearly upset by the incident, said that her husband serve his country and isn’t a thug.
“My husband ain’t no thug. He’s a good man. My husband has served his country for 13 years. He’s a sergeant in the National Guard.”
Baker returned the $275 to Dunahoo. She said they’re in the relocating to a home in another RV park, where the rent is a tad higher, at $325 per month.
Meanwhile, the Mississippi NAACP is now involved in the incident after Dunahoo reported it. President of the Mississippi NAACP, Derrick Johnson, said that although Mississippi has a past filled with racism, it shouldn’t still be that way in 2016.
“Racial discrimination should be a thing of the past in Mississippi, considering our long history.”
Baker defended his actions by saying not only does he have no problems with interracial couples, but that his church allows mixed couples to attend. Yet, Dunahoo said that although she was invited to attend the church, she was told that she and husband could never become members.
If the allegations are true, Baker violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlaws any type discrimination that’s based on race, sex, or nation of origin. In 1967, marriage between a black and white couple became legal in Mississippi after the Loving v. Virginia trial. The Fair Housing Act also makes it illegal for landlords to refuse to rent to people based on “race, color, religion, sex or national origin.”
When questioned if he would allow another interracial couple to move in, in light of the recent publicity he’s received, Baker replied,
“I’m closing it down, and that solves the problem.”
[Photo by Facebook]