Michael “Mike” Ilitch performed numerous generous actions when he was alive. Among them is discreetly paying the house rent of Rosa Parks for years. Following his death at the old age of 87 last week, several of his kind and humane acts and gestures have been revealed. His generosity and kindness towards the highly recognized civil rights leader – Rosa Parks – was praised in all quarters, more so over keeping it under wraps all these years.
Michael Ilitch died on the 10th of February. He is also the owner of Detroit Tigers of the Major League Basketball, and the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League.
Just days after his death, a Sports Business Daily article written about three years ago resurfaced, revealing the extent of his generosity and kindness in Detroit. The report contains documentary evidence of the November 1, 1994, check for $2,000 that Judge Damon Keith provided to Riverfront Apartments, from the Little Caesars Enterprises. Contained in the article is a picture of Keith holding the check that Mike Ilitch wrote.
Renowned for refusing to leave her bus seat in 1955, Rosa Parks, an Alabama native moved to Detroit shortly after. In 1994, she was assaulted and robbed in her home in central Detroit by unidentified assailants. After the incident, Keith confirmed that he helped in finding a safe new place for Parks to call home. The Riverfront complex owner, Alfred Taubman, also worked alongside Keith to provide assistance to Parks, and they both helped her find a suitable home.
Michael Ilitch only learned of what happened to Rosa Parks in the newspaper, and he immediately got involved in helping her. He was moved by the ordeal of such an iconic United States civil rights leader, and told mutual friends that he would be responsible for the payment of her housing rent for whatever length of time necessary.
Rosa Parks, 81 at the time, moved to a better and safer apartment building. She lived there until she passed away in 2005. Judge Damon Keith, their mutual; friend, spoke of how Mike was in the habit of doing kind and good things for others, without making a fuss out of it.
Speaking to Sports Business Daily, Keith said that it was important that everyone knew the extent of Mike Ilitch’s generosity towards Rosa Parks. He further stated that that gesture was the quintessence of what Ilitch had always done for everyone in the city.
Al Avila, the Tigers General Manager, described Mike Ilitch as an individual who finds it very easy to give to the needy whatever they needed because he desired happiness and greatness for everyone in the city.