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.”