Next-generation Navy ship to be named after civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis

- (AP) -- The U.S. Navy has announced that it will name a new ship after civil rights leader and U.S. Rep. John Lewis.

With Lewis in attendance, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus on Wednesday named the first ship of the next generation of fleet replenishment oilers the USNS John Lewis during a ceremony held at the Cannon House Office Building in Washington. Mabus says other ships in the class will be named after fellow civil right activists.

Lewis, a Georgia Democratic Congressman, is an Alabama native who worked closely with Martin Luther King Jr. He was the first speaker during the 50th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery march last year.

The Defense Department says a contract will be awarded for the ship this summer, with construction expected to begin in 2018.

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