Detroit icon paid Rosa Parks' rent

Alyssa BaileyFeb 17, 2017

Ilitch, who bought the team in 1982, died Friday at the age of 87.

The story is just now coming to light thanks to Federal Judge Damon Keith, of Detroit.

Ilitch and his wife Marian then cut a "substantial cheque" from Little Caesars Enterprises so that Parks could live at Riverfront Apartments in downtown Detroit, Keith told CNN affiliate WXYZ last week.

Ilitch cut a check for Parks' apartment every month from 1994 to her death in 2005. For the woman who made history by not only standing up for her own rights in Montgomery, Alabama, but also for all black Americans in 1955, Judge Keith felt her assault was especially unacceptable. Marian Ilitch and the entire Ilitch family on Friday evening, UMD Co-Founder and President Metodija A. Koloski stated, "My heart goes out to you as you mourn the loss of Mr. Ilitch - a legend, a pillar, a kind-hearted soul, proud of his Macedonian roots, and just an outstanding citizen - his dedication to family, the city of Detroit, and MI is an example for all of us to adhere to!"

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"He had his fingers in almost everything in Detroit", she said.

"We've just got to prepare for it", Blues left wing Jaden Schwartz said. It's one of those arenas like the Bell Centre (in Montreal), like Madison Square Garden (home of the New York Rangers) that you walk into and you take a step back and you realize there have been a lot of greats who have stepped on that ice and for you to have the honor to do the same thing, it's pretty awesome.

"Mr. I" was the common nickname given to Ilitch by all of his players, past and present.

When it comes to Ilitch's legacy in the city of Detroit, it's a mixed bag.

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It's not entirely certain how long the Ilitches paid Parks' rent. He was in his twenties and just home from serving in the military when he started working for Little Caesar's.

"I think that our owners always play very hard for ownership, they have an affinity for ownership, they know was special owners we have and certainly that is magnified tonight", he said.

"To go over there and see Mrs. Ilitch and give a hug, it's nice to be able to do that", he said, according to a report by George Sipple in the Deroit Free Press.

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