Late sports owner paid Rosa Parks' rent for 10 years

Mike Ilitch, the former Detroit Tigers and Red Wings owner who died last week, quietly paid the rent for civil rights icon Rosa Parks during her later years.

Ilitch was known for his philanthropic efforts, but news of his intervention with Parks was unknown to the public.

“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,” Federal Judge Damon Keith, of Detroit, told WXYZ-TV.

Shortly after Parks’ iconic decision to defy segregation rules in Alabama by not giving up her bus seat to a white passenger, she moved with her family to Detroit and became an important figure in the community.