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Thomas O. Edwards

pediatric neurosurgeon, was born Benjamin Solomon Carson in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Robert Carson, a minister of a small Seventh-Day Adventist church, and Sonya Carson. His mother had attended school only up to the third grade and married at the age of thirteen; she was fifteen years younger than her husband. After his father deserted the family, eight-year-old Ben and his brother, Curtis, were left with their mother, who had no marketable skills. Sonya worked as a domestic when such jobs were available, and she struggled with bouts of depression, for which, at one point, she had herself admitted to a psychiatric hospital. Despite her disabilities, she became the biggest factor in determining Ben's later success, which she and Ben attribute to divine intervention.

Except for two years in Boston Ben grew up in a dangerous and impoverished neighborhood in Detroit Initially he did so poorly in ...

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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.

Carson ...