Booker Taliaferro Ashe was born in Columbia, South Carolina in 1932 to Booker T. Ashe, Sr., a lawyer, and Evelyn Livingston, a schoolteacher. With his parents and five siblings, Booker moved to Evanston, IL, just outside of Chicago. A relative of the tennis player Arthur Ashe, Booker was himself a talented actor who pursued life on the stage at Chicagos Goodman Theatre.
But he soon felt called to religious life, and - to the joy of his mother and reluctance of his father - in 1951 the devout young Catholic joined the Capuchin branch of the Franciscan Ordo Fratrum Minorum (OFMs) as a brother. What followed is, as the saying goes, history... In Brother Booker Ashe: Its Amazing What the Lord Can Do, Willy Thorn presents this history, this story of a black man's life-long dedication to justice, charity, and the poor. Brother Booker lived throughout the Midwest - including Chicago, Indiana & Detroit - but spent the majority of his life in Milwaukee, preaching, directing plays, cooking grandiose meals, working for racial equality, and ministering to countless people at the landmark institution he helped found - the House of Peace. From this position, which Brother Booker assumed when he was 35 and maintained until close to his death, he became a powerful, positive influence on the entire city, the Franciscan family & the Roman Catholic Church.