Black Chesterfield defender of Confederate flag: 'It's not telling me to go kill people'

Published: Jul. 14, 2015 at 11:00 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 25, 2015 at 4:16 AM EDT
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CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - A Chesterfield woman is Black and proud to display the Confederate flag. The Virginia Flagger is speaking out and challenging stereotypes.

"I'm sick and tired of my White Christian southern friends being attacked," said Karen Cooper. "People displaying a flag is not a problem."

She's outraged over the Confederate battle flag being taken down after 9 South Carolina church members were murdered at the hands of Dylann Roof, often pictured holding the flag.

"They are trying to pin the murder of 9 people on a flag," said Cooper. "This is an inanimate object. It is right here. It is not harming me. It's not calling me bad names. It's not telling me to go kill people."

Cooper rejects the suggestion the flag is a symbol of racism or defenders of slavery.

"That is to say that I support the Confederacy," said Cooper. "I actually believe in my heart that they were good men."

Karen says Confederate soldiers fought for state's rights. She says it was not about slavery.

"'State's rights means my rights....White's rights...over yours,'" said former Richmond city councilman Marty Jewell of the message sent by Confederate flaggers. "And if anybody can come up with another descriptive I'll eat their hat. The forces waving that flag are always happy to find a fool...a fool who will say what they won't say themselves but has a Black face."

Jewell says he feels sorry for Cooper.

"The poor thing," said Jewell. " We pray for her."

Cooper says she is accustomed to being called names.

"That's okay. I will fight for your freedom to call me names," said Cooper. "That's what the First Amendment is all about. God forbid they make it a law, and I can't wear this. That's when I'm going to jail, and I'm going to be back in chains like my ancestors."

Cooper says she plans to be buried with the Confederate flag.

Former NAACP president H.K. Edgerton also defended the Confederate flag after protesters spray-painted "Black Lives Matter" on a Confederate monument in Asheville, North Carolina.

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