(WMC) - In the wake of Mike Ilitch's death last Friday, reports are now surfacing that the Little Caesars founder and Detroit Tigers owner quietly supported the woman who launched the American civil rights movement.
According to CNN, Judge Damon Keith of Detroit says Ilitch called him in 1994 and offered to help Parks, after she was beaten and robbed in her Detroit home at the age of 81.
Judge Keith helped Parks find a safer neighborhood and provided proof of checks that Ilitch sent to pay Parks' mortgage.
The judge said Ilitch paid Parks' mortgage until the day she died in 2005.
Parks is known as "The First Lady of Civil Rights," after she refused to give up her seat to a white person on a bus, sparking a bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, which then led to nationwide protests to end segregation in public facilities.
Ilitch was laid to rest Wednesday.