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Late Detroit Tigers Owner Mike Illitch Quietly Paid Rosa Parks’ Rent Until She Passed

Former Detroit Tigers and Red Wings owner Mike Illitch passed away late last week at 87 years old. He was a well known public figure, but sometimes things are revealed only after a person leaves this earth.

Evidently, the sports owner and founder of Little Ceasars quietly paid the rent of civil rights icon Rosa Parks for over a decade until she passed away in 2005.

Parks moved to Detroit shortly after she heroically opposed segregation rules in Alabama by not giving up her seat to a white passenger on a city bus.

She became an important and beloved figure in Detroit, but in 1994 at 81 years old, she was robbed and assaulted at her home. When Illitch heard about the horrendous act, he contacted Federal Judge Damon Keith, who was helping her look for a new home, and offered to pay her rent for the rest of her life.

“Mike Ilitch is totally committed to Detroit,” Keith told Sports Business Daily. “He brought the Little Caesars corporate offices here. He saved the Fox Theatre. He built Comerica Park, and he kept the hockey and baseball teams thriving here when times were tough. But of all the incredible things he has done for the city, people should know what he did for Rosa Parks.”

Now that’s a great city leader.
Kim Constantinesco

Kim Constantinesco

As the founder and editor-in-chief of Purpose2Play.com, Kim Constantinesco dives under the surface hype to illuminate heroes in the sports world. Whether talking with the first man with cerebral palsy to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro, or the first woman to mountain bike across Afghanistan, Kim has a keen interest in shining the spotlight on ordinary people doing extraordinary things. She believes it's time media starts placing a higher value on the people and communities who are actively doing something to make the world a little better. Previously, she covered the Denver Broncos and the NFL for seven seasons. Her work has been featured on NFL.com, CBS Sports, Fox Sports, The New York Times, and USA Today. She resides in Denver, CO. When not working, she can be found deep in the Rocky Mountains throwing backflips on her snowboard. Follow Kim on Twitter: @KimCon14
Kim Constantinesco

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