Navy Christens USNS John Lewis

'Good Trouble' vigils planned across the country on the anniversary of civil rights icon's death
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 17, 2021 5:30 PM CDT
John Lewis Observances Include Christening
With an image of Rep. John Lewis projected behind him, the Rev. James Lawson speaks during a celebration of life Saturday at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.   (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

US Rep. John Lewis was remembered Saturday in word, song, calls to action, and, in San Diego, by christening a Navy ship named for him. "We miss him on this platform, but we will never be without him," actress Alfre Woodard said before christening the USNS John Lewis, KNSD reports. The ceremony included family members of the civil rights icon, who died a year ago, as well as political officials. "This ship will be a beacon to the world reminding all who see it of the persistence and courage of John Lewis," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, per USA Today. Lewis' nephew, Marcus Tyner, quoted him in telling the crowd: "When you see something that is not fair, not right, not just, you have to speak up. You have to say something. You have to do something."

Other observances were held. A downtown Nashville street was renamed Rep. John Lewis Way, a place restaurant employees once tried to push Lewis away from the lunch counter with hoses, brooms, and a fumigation machine. A historian said he hopes the new name "will drive some of our younger folks to ask more questions about that period, to ask better questions about that period," per USA Today. A celebration of Lewis' life was held at the city's famed Ryman Auditorium. A candlelight vigil was scheduled for Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, DC, and "Good Trouble" vigils were planned across the nation. Pelosi and others called for paying tribute to Lewis with congressional action. "We ought to honor his memory and life's work by passing the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and protecting the right to vote," US Rep. Jim Clyburn posted on Twitter. (More John Lewis stories.)

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