Mike Ilitch, the founder of Little Caesars Pizza paid Rosa Parks’ rent for the last 11 years of her life. Parks, the civil rights activist, was robbed and assaulted in Detroit in 1994 when she was 81 years old.
Local billionaire, Ilitch, saw the story in the paper. The federal judge on the case, Damon Keith, was looking to find Parks a safer place to live and Ilitch called the judge and said he’d pay her rent, indefinitely.
Keith said, "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.”
Ilitch passed away last week at the age of 87. The former Marine and minor league baseball player was born and raised in Detroit and went on to become the owner of the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers.
Both the Red Wings and Tigers will wear a jersey patch to commemorate Ilitch this season.
Hall of Fame basketball coach John Wooden once said, “The true test of a man's character is what he does, when no one is watching.” The fact that no one knew that Ilitch paid Rosa Parks’ rent until after he passed away speaks volumes about his character.