Mike Ilitch, the founder of Little Caesars Pizza quietly paid civil rights icon Rosa Parks’ rent for years.
Ilitch, the owner of the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers, paid Rosa’s rent so she could move to a safer neighborhood. Parks moved to Detroit shortly after her famous refusal to give up her seat on a bus to a white person in 1955.
In 1994 she was robbed inside her central Detroit home. Ilitch heard the news and notified mutual friends he would cover her rent as long as needed in order to move her to a safer neighborhood.
Rosa Parks was able to move into a secure apartment building, where she lived until her death in 2005.
Few people knew of Ilitch’s generosity. He passed away last week at the age of 87 where news of his arrangement with Rosa Parks was noted in his eulogy.