- Stephen Inrig
neurosurgeon. Carson was born into relative poverty in Detroit, Michigan. When he turned eight, his parents divorced, and his mother, who had married at the age of thirteen and who had only a third grade education, struggled to raise Benjamin and his older brother Curtis on her own. This personal upheaval left Carson a troubled youth with a ferocious temper and little confidence in school. By the fifth grade, his failing grades and frequent altercations so concerned his mother that she forced her son to improve his grades and develop his reading skills. The new regime quickly created success in school, and by the sixth grade Carson's grades had dramatically improved along with his personal confidence and ambition. Buoyed by the support he found at home and at church, he devoted himself to academic excellence, and by his senior year he had secured a scholarship to Yale University.
A version of this article originally appeared in The Encyclopedia of African American History, 1896 to the Present.