Initials of John Lewis and Alfre Woodard affixed to the USNS John Lewis
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – At NASSCO today, a meeting of Washington and Hollywood, in the name of civil rights and…the naming of a ship under construction.
For all of their many accomplishments, it’s safe to say longtime Georgia Congressman and noted civil rights leader John Lewis and well-known actress and political activist Alfre Woodard have never donned protective welding gear.
But there they were, prior to a traditional keel-laying ceremony, practicing affixing their initials to a ship named for Lewis.
Recall, last September, we were at NASSCO, for the start of construction for the Navy oiler USNS John Lewis, another traditional ceremony called “the cutting of the first steel.”
NASSCO is building six oilers for the Navy, all named after noted civil rights figures.
The 79-year-old Lewis, the son of sharecroppers in rural Alabama, was a civil rights movement leader long before he became a 16 term Congressman. And his oratory skills were on full display at a San Diego shipyard: “My philosophy is very simple,” he said.
“It’s in keeping with the dream of America, if you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation to stand up, say something speak up and speak out. We’re one people, one family, not just American family, but world family.”
When not in front of the camera, the Oscar-nominated and Emmy-Award winning Woodard has been a tireless advocate for human rights. So it was only appropriate that she be the ship’s sponsor.