'Little Caesars' founder paid Rosa Parks' rent for more than a decade


Mike Ilitch, who founded Little Caesars and who owned the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers, died on Friday at the age of 87. Now, as Detroit marks the loss of the pizza magnate, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley has shared the story of how Ilitch paid Rosa Parks' rent for over a decade.

"It will give you a sense of the kind of man Mike Ilitch was," Calley wrote on Saturday morning along with a link to the MLive story.

According to Street and Smith's Sports Business Journal, Ilitch took over on paying Parks' rent in 1994 when he heard that there were some concerns over her welfare and safety when she became the victim of assault and robbery. He continued to pay her rent up until she died in 2005.

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Rosa Parks and Civil Rights Movement
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Rosa Parks and Civil Rights Movement
Portrait of Rosa Parks, who organized the boycott of buses in Montgomery, Alabama, 1955, 20th century, United States, New York, Schomburg Center. (Photo by Photo12/UIG/Getty Images)
Rosa Parks seated toward the front of the bus, Montgomery, Alabama, 1956. (Photo by Underwood Archives/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - Rosa Louise McCauley Parks (1913-2005), American Civil Rights activist. Booking photo taken at the time of her arrest for refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus to a white passenger on 1 December 1955. (Photo by Universal History Archive/Getty Images)
Rosa Parks is fingerprinted by police (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty images)
MONTGOMERY, AL - MARCH 25: Rosa Parks speaking at conclusion of 1965 Selma to Mongomery Civil Rights March; Rev. Ralph Abernathy on left. On March 25, 1965 in Montgomery, Alabama. (Photo by Stephen F. Somerstein/Getty Images)
At the culmination of the Selma to Montgomery March, American religious and Civil Right leader Martin Luther King Jr (1929 - 1968) (fore right) and Bernard Lee (1935 - 1991) of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee walk at the the head of the march, Montgomery, Alabama, March 25, 1965. Among the activists in the front line of the march are, from fourth left, Bayard Rustin (1912 - 1987) (in profile, leaning to his left), Rosa Parks (1913 - 2005), Ralph Abernathy (1926 - 1990), Ruth Bunche, Ralph Bunche (1903 - 1971), and Coretta Scott King (1927 - 2006). At the end of the march, King delivered his 'How Long? Not Long!' speech. (Photo by Charles Shaw/Getty Images)
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"It's important that people know what Mr. Mike Ilitch did for Ms. Rosa Parks because it's symbolic of what he has always done for the people of our city," U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Damon Keith said in 2014.

Since the announcement of Ilitch's death, many such stories of his generosity and kindness have been flooding social media and other places as many remember him and share their own tributes.

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