FREDERICKSBURG, Va. - A Fredericksburg woman has gotten a permit to erect a large Black Lives Matter flag on her property, a flag she says is in opposition to a 30-by-30 foot Confederate flag visible from Interstate 95.
There have been multiple attempts to get the Confederate flag taken down, but the Stafford County ruled earlier this month that it can stay put. The flag is on private property near the Falmouth exit of the interstate.
Susan Kosior says she now has to raise $20,000 to $25,000 to buy a flag and pole that match the size of the Confederate flag a few miles from her home. The flag has been up since 2014 and some are angry that it is visible from the highway.
"There was one gentleman who says when he drives by it every day for work, it takes him 10 or 15 minutes to calm down," Kosier said. "It really is a very frightening and visceral reaction people have to that flag."
The Confederate flag is flying on the property of Hubert Wayne Cash, but was put up by a group called Virginia Flaggers. The group flies flags like this one along highways across Virginia. Cash says the group paid him $1 for a 100-year lease of his land.
"There's no hate, there's no hate here," said Cash.
He says for him, it is all about his ancestors who died fighting in the Civil War.
"We are just trying to preserve our history and our ancestors were Southerners. This is the South," Cash said.
He says the people offended by his flag shouldn't look at it.
"I'm figuring if they are going to put up a flag down the road, Black Lives Matter, I’m not going to sit there and stare at it and feel bad about it," he said. "I mean it's their flag, it's there right. If they do it, well, God bless them."
Kosier says she does not believe Cash's flag is only about heritage when she has seen a racist post he wrote online, a comment on a Washington Post article.
Cash admits to writing the post, but says it is something he is deeply sorry for and that he wrote it during a dark time in his life. He says he is not a racist and would be happy to help with the Black Lives Matter flag.
"If they need any help putting the pole up, all they have to do is contact me," Cash said. "Because we have been through the process. We have been through the legal process and we know how it is done and would be glad to help them do it."
Kosier says she may take him up on it.
"We would love to sit down and talk with him and see if we could resolve this issue peacefully," she said. "None of us want to infringe on his rights, but we don't feel he has the right to speak for the whole entire county."
When asked if she is hesitant to engage in the culture war going on in America, she says no.
"I have a daughter who is eight years old and she is a person of color," Kosier said. "And I want to leave this to be a better world for her. I want her to grow up knowing that she is safe and that she is happy and secure wherever we are, and that gives me courage to do I think is best."