Ben Carson was born in Detroit, Michigan on September 18 of 1951. Despite being undereducated, Ben’s mother Sonya was adamant about pushing her sons to read and to believe in themselves. Sonya made sure to limit her children’s TV time and did not allow them to go outside until they all finished their homework. Despite being criticized by other mothers claiming that her children would grow to resent her, Sonya kept true that her boys would have greater success abiding by her rules. Her children were required to read two library books a week and give her written reports outside of school. Sonya did her best to correct the papers even with her poor education and barely being able to read the reports. She would scan the words and flip the pages and eventually would put a “check” at the top of the page showing that their work was acceptable.
Like any small child, Ben was not happy with his mother’s strict regimen of additional school work. He wanted to be outside playing with his friends and enjoying sports and started to feel resentful towards his Mom. However after several weeks of his Mom’s firm position, young Ben began to find a great deal of enjoyment in reading. Because of their low income, Ben remembers that there were not a lot of places to go but while reading he could go anywhere and be anything. With his newfound love for the written word, Ben began to find reading more fun than watching television. This empowered him to learn even more and he became very interested in technical books about laboratories and chemicals and looking into microscopes. In just a year or so Ben began to show remarkable improvement to his teachers and classmates and was soon at the top of his class.
Ben had a severe temper and over the years had some very violent episodes. He tended to internalize things that bothered him and expressed it with anger. He was able to eventually control these outbursts with the use of prayer. Despite a very tough economy in Detroit because of the auto industry, Ben was able to get a summer job after graduating high school and with a partial scholarship secured a scholarship to Yale eventually earning a BA in psychology. Ben then enrolled in the School of Medicine at the University of Michigan and strayed from the path of psychology to become a neurosurgeon. In 1975 he married Lacrena “Candy” Rustin that he met at Yale and after Michigan, the couple moved to Baltimore where Ben became a resident at Johns Hopkins University by 1977. Carson’s outstanding hand-eye coordination and “three dimensional reasoning” skills let him stand out of the pack of regular surgeons. At just 31 Ben became the chief resident in neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins, the youngest ever to hold the position.
Carson and his team performed a groundbreaking surgery when he and his team operated on conjoined twins in South Africa in 1994. Although they failed, the brilliant surgeon was determined to successfully perform the operation. Three years later Carson successfully separated conjoined twin infant boys in Zambia after a 28-hour operation. This successful procedure put Carson in the national medical spotlight and media spotlight. The soft spoken doctor was not used to being a public figure but became more and more comfortable in front of the camera and began travelling all over the country giving speeches on his philosophy of life. Carson and his team attempted to separate 29-year old conjoined Iranian twin girls. Although the 52-hour operation was unsuccessful and the patients were lost, the 3D imaging technique that Carson had developed years earlier was invaluable in the operation. Dr. Carson is a true trailblazer in his field and has been internationally recognized for his achievements. Both CNN and Time Magazine have named Dr. Ben Carson as one the 20 best physicians and scientists. In 2008 President Bush presented Dr. Carson with the highest civilian honor, the Ford’s Theater Lincoln Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.