Black History: Special Delivery!!
On January 6, Rep. John Lewis (1940 – ) of Georgia had a Navy ship named in his honor; “USNS John Lewis”. The ship, yet to be built, will be part of the next generation fleet of naval replenishment ships. Other ships in the fleet will also be named after civil rights activists. The ship will provide fuel replenishment to other vessels and jet fuel to aircrafts. Lewis is reported to have “teared up” when asked by Navy Secretary, Ray Maybus to have a ship named in his honor. Construction is expected to start in 2018.
The son of sharecroppers from Alabama, Lewis is well known for his activism during the civil rights movement. He was a Freedom Rider, and also spoke at the March on Washington in 1963. He also led the “Bloody Sunday” demonstration in 1965. Lewis was elected to congress in 1987 and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.
At the ship naming ceremony on January 6, 2016, Lewis shared, that as a child he never learned to swim because he was unable to access public swimming facilities as those in his area were open to whites only.