Mike Ilitch paid for Rosa Parks' rent for more than 10 years

When he read about the attack on Parks, Ilitch reached out to Damon Keith, a Detroit native and federal judge who was a legal figure in the civil rights movement, and quietly offered to pay her rent, CNN affiliate WXYZ reported.

Sports fans and those who knew him from his pizza days are remembering the late Mike Ilitch.

Here's a heartwarming story you may have missed about the team owner and pizza magnate: Ilitch reportedly once paid for civil rights activist Rosa Parks' rent when she moved into Riverfront Apartments in 1994. She died in October 2005 at 92 years old.

Shortly after her famed defiance of segregation sparked the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott, Parks moved to Detroit and became an important presence in the city for years afterward.

The Detroit Red Wings announced on Twitter this morning that the players will were a commemorative patch on their jerseys in honor of Mike Ilitch.

Detroit Free Press Business writer John Gallagher explored the impact of Mike Ilitch and his family and of Dan Gilbert in a recent front-page story entitled "One downtown, two empires: Mike Ilitch and Dan Gilbert reshape Detroit". Keith showed a copy of a 1994 check for $2,000 from Little Caesars Enterprises as evidence of Illitch's good deed.

"You'll never discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore".

  • Julie Sanders