Giving In Silence: For Decades, Little Caesars Pizza Founder Paid Rosa Parks’ Rent

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Paying Rosa Parks’ rent was one the entrepreneur's many generous actions. He died last week at the age of 87.

Following the death of Michael "Mike" Ilitch, the founder of Little Caesars Pizza, several of his acts of kindness have been revealed, including the generosity towards iconic civil rights leader, Rosa Parks.

Ilitch, who also owned the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League and Detroit Tigers of Major League Baseball, died on February 10 at the age of 87.

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Days after his passing, an article by the Sports Business Daily (published three years ago) has resurfaced about his generosity in Detroit. The report includes documentation from Judge Damon Keith, who provided a check for $2,000, dated Nov. 1, 1994 from Little Caesars Enterprises to Riverfront Apartments. In a photo embedded in the article, Keith is holding a check that Illitch wrote.

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After Parks was robbed and assaulted in her home in 1994, Keith said he assisted with finding Parks a safe place to call home. Alfred Taubman, who owned the Riverfront complex, worked with Keith in order to assist Parks. Ilitch got involved after learning about the ordeal in the newspaper. He said he would pay for her housing for as long as necessary.

“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,” Keith told Sports Business Daily. 

The Tigers General Manager Al Avila described Ilitch as someone who “was always there to give us whatever we needed because he wanted greatness and happiness for all of us.”

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