The U.S. Navy has announced its plans to name a ship after civil rights leader, and current U.S. congressman, John Lewis.

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus made the announcement on Wednesday, saying, "Naming this ship after John Lewis is a fitting tribute to a man who has, from his youth, been at the forefront of progressive social and human rights movements in the U.S., directly shaping both the past and future of our nation."

Lewis, a Democrat, has represented Georgia's Fifth Congressional District for nearly 30 years.

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Writing for Vibe magazine, Shenequa Golding explained that the 75-year-old Lewis "was instrumental in the march in Selma, Ala.,across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965, which later become known as 'Bloody Sunday.' And at just 23 year old, Lewis was also a keynote speaker during the March on Washington."

In 2010, Lewis was recognized by President Barack Obama with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

For his part, Lewis said that he was "more than pleased" than the U.S. Navy decided to name a ship after him. Navy officials said that the vessel will be a supply ship, replenishing fuel and stores to other U.S. Navy ships at sea along with jet fuel for aircraft on aircraft carriers.

Defense officials said construction of the ship is expected to begin in 2018.