Melissa Harris-Perry | February 16, 2013
>>> the man of the civil rights movement tend to dominate the historical movement of racial equality in the country and men like reverend martin luther king jr . captureded the camera's at attention out front, but just as sure as there was a civil rights movement there were women who made it possible. recently i visited the freedom sisters exhibit at the national civil rights museum in memphis, tennessee. i want to start with a little bit of a discussion about ms. m myrlie evers williams. why so important to have her included here.
>> well, one reason that she was included here is to show young people that you, too, can lead. you can be as for of change, and does it not have to be somebody from centuries ago, because there is work to be done.
>> to walk in this space, hayed to walk past the motel where dr. king stood and was assassinated, and i had to stop and step back because it impacts you.
>> when that assassin took dr. king, he also created coretta scott king in many ways s. that part of how some of them come to us?
>> i think so. i absolutely think so that history sort of thrust them into the limelight even when they have been in traditionally roles of mother, and of course, known in the african-american community, but it thrust them on to the world stage.
>> you can't pick favorites in the civil rights era , but if i had to pick a favorite, it is undoubtedly idab. wells, and i think it is because she was a journalist and a social scientist and she believed that you could use data and evidence to organize, and also, she was kind of fancy. i mean, she used to, you know, buy beautiful clothes and sometimes spend the whole budget on a nice bag and forget to -- i mean, i love her for the humanity of what she did.
>> yes, and at an early age, she took on so much responsibility, and that is what is wanting you the respect her more. at age 16 to have four or more siblings to be responsible for and she raised them as she stayed focus on the work on behalf of the race.
>> baker was a part of every single civil rights movement , and there is no part of it that she does not engage in part of.
>> and yes, and the southern christian leadership conference and martin luther king recognize recognized the skills and the ability and she is one of the few women who is part of the organization that helped to lead that organization and really was instrumental in introducing young people to sclc, and sclc to them.
>> i want to talk about the jelly bean jar, because we have done work with the jelly beans on my show in a couple of ways. i said, there is something funny about me for counting jelly beans , because jelly bean jars were part of how people were disenfranchised in the south, so young people , when the kids come and see the jelly beans , what do think they it is about and what do you teach them about?
>> well, young people are not sure about this, and we are glad to have the interactive here to learn about it, because the idea that a person would have to guess how many beans are in a jar, which is what this is all about and it is a kind of thing that black voters or those who wanted to vote were confronted with at registrar's office.
>> where does this go see it, touch it, fill it museum it in the world of e-mail and ipads and why do i have to stand in memphis, and why can't i just see ella jo baker ?
>> well, you need to understand the story behind the grandma's quilt and the story behind the cast iron pot. when you look at grand dad's ticket stub or the ticket stub , you understand what they did with nothing, and helps you the appreciate more where you are.
>> when we come back, we are going back even further. do you know e who noe know e who, essie wa s? you will want to know why next. [ bop ] 100% vegetable juiwho, essie was? you will want