Ben Carson: Ordinary Person with an Extraordinary life

Perseverance is key when it comes to the story of Ben Carson.


By Princess Sinkambe, Staff Writer

As we take a look at the strong, significant figures of the black community, past and present, there are always the famous few that first come to mind. From Dr. King to Rosa Parks, there were many others before them that inspired “the Greats”.

Dr. Benjamin Solomon Carson was born in Detroit, Michigan, on September 18, 1951, the second son of Sonya and Robert Solomon Carson. He was just an average kid growing up in a low-income house with a not so special intelligence.

His single mother had been a huge influence in his life. She dropped out of school and was married at 13 then later divorced. After the divorce, Ben’s mom wasn’t left with much financially or academically. Though Ms. Carson had little education and worked many different jobs with long hours, she still pushed both her sons to strive for a better life than the one she had sustained for herself.

Ms. Carson always made sure her sons knew anything was possible with hard work and perseverance. Carson and his brother both struggled tremendously in school, so their mom sent them to the library every week to find two books that they had to write book reports about and limited the amount of TV they could watch. It wasn’t long before he enjoyed reading more than he did doing much of anything else. Carson later stated it was the library that made him believe that he could really be anything he wanted to.

His mother’s efforts to better educate her son soon did pay off as he got an award in the eighth grade for being at the top of his class. Though a teacher soon after got up to ridicule his class for letting a black boy get so far ahead academically in their class, it was then his mom decided to move the family to a majority African-American school.

Carson graduated from his high school with honors and proceeded to earn a full scholarship to Yale where he gained a B.A. degree in psychology in 1973.  His medical career as a neurosurgeon began after he was educated at the School of Medicine at the University of Michigan. In 1997 he became an intern at Johns Hopkins University located in Baltimore, Maryland. Carson’s highly qualified skills led him to be chief resident in neurosurgery at Hopkins by 1982.

Carson also spent time in Australia and helped improve their neurosurgeon branch while gaining more experience for himself. In 1985,  at the age of 33 he became director of pediatric neurosurgery, the youngest U.S. physician to hold that position.

Some of Carson’s more popular notable work was his successful surgeries on conjoined twins.  In 1997, Carson and his team successfully separated infant boys Luka and Joseph Banda from Zambia in South Central Africa. The operation proved to be extremely difficult because the boys were joined at the tops of their heads, facing in opposite directions. It was the first time a surgery like that had been done. After 28-hours, both boys survived.

Carson performed many other surgeries similar to the one on the boys from South Central Africa. Through perseverance, just as his mother had preached to him as a child, Carson excelled.