DETROIT - JANUARY 2: Detroit Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch speaks at the jersey retirement ceremony for Steve Yzerman before the Detroit Red Wings game against the Anaheim Ducks at Joe Louis Arena on January 2, 2007 in Detroit, Michigan. The Red Wings won 2-1. (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images)

Those who knew Mike Ilitch, the Little Caesars founder and Detroit Tigers owner who died last Friday, have spent the past few days fondly remembering his impact on friends, on Detroit residents, and on the sports community.
Ilitch also had an impact on the daily life of one of the most iconic figures from the civil rights movement.
For more than a decade, Ilitch had quietly paid for Rosa Parks’ apartment in downtown Detroit, according to CNN affiliate WXYZ.
That story came to light thanks to Damon Keith, a Detroit native and federal judge.
“They don’t go around saying it, but I want to, at this point, let them know, how much the Ilitches not only meant to the city, but they meant so much for Rosa Parks, who was the mother of the civil rights movement,” Keith told WXYZ.
Shortly after her famed defiance of segregation sparked the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott, Parks moved …
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