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Shot at, vandalized and firebombed: St. Augustine couple restoring home destroyed after Martin Luther King Jr. invite

It was painted with racist graffiti and windows were busted. The house also was firebombed and shot at. One of the bullets is still lodged into the sliding door fram

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — While a museum holds artifacts of the past, David Manaute and Patti Berry will actually live with it. 

To the Florida couple, it is an honor to live in a house that has ties to Dr. Martin Luther King. They recently bought the house in early September. Inside the Canright House is a glimpse of what it was like during the Civil Rights Era. 

RELATED: St. Johns County beach house with connection to MLK up for sale

Dr. King was invited to visit the house in 1964. When segregationists found out, they vandalized the home.

It was painted with racist graffiti and windows were busted. The house also was firebombed and shot at. One of the bullets is still lodged into the sliding door frame.

"I had a mix of emotions when it hit me," David Manaute said. "When you see it in person, it's a different feeling." 

The house has seen better days. The St. Augustine couple said they will revitalize the house and preserve its history, including the damages. 

Underneath the carpet is hardwood floors. There are dark spots on some of the wood. Manaute and Berry believe it is damage from when segregationists tried to burn the house down. 

"You're just reminded every day of the things you have to do to be a better person," Patti Berry said. 

To historian, David Nolan, the house is in good hands.

"It [the Canright House] was the place that made the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and this is one of the great landmarks of that," Nolan explained. 

The couple encourages the public to visit the Canright House. Before one shows up, they suggested taking the Freedom Trail for more information. 

    

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