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Carson, Benjamin S. (1951- )

Benjamin S. Carson, neurosurgeon and Republican Presidential Candidate in 2016, was born on September 18, 1951 in Detroit, Michigan.  Carson was raised in a single parent home when his father deserted the family in 1959 when he was eight years old, leaving his mother, Sonya, and his older brother, Curtis.  Because of the turmoil in the family, Carson and his brother fell behind in school and he was labeled a “dummy” by his classmates in fifth grade.  Once his mother saw their failing grades, she stepped in to turn their lives around.  They were only allowed to watch two or three television programs a week and were required to read two books per week and write a book report for her despite her own limited reading skills. Carson developed a love for books and scholarship and eventually graduated third in his high school class.  He enrolled in and graduated from Yale University and from there completed medical school at the University of Michigan after training to become a neurosurgeon.

Benjamin Carson joined the medical staff at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.  In 1985 he revived a little used surgical procedure, the hemispherectomy, which involved removing half the brain of a child who had experienced numerous seizures.  This procedure had been stopped in the 1970s after hundreds of failed attempts.  Dr. Carson, however, was able to complete it successfully.  He made medical history again in 1987 when he led a team of 140 surgeons and nurses in a 22 hour surgery that successfully separated Siamese twins who were conjoined at the back of the head.  Until then, either one or both twins died during or after the complicated surgery.  Dr. Carson can also be credited with performing the first intrauterine surgical procedure to relieve pressure on the brain of a fetal twin.

Carson sets aside at least one hour a month to speak to children around the nation to encourage them to excel in school and never stop dreaming.  He has also written numerous books including Gifted Hands and Think Big. Carson retired

28 Unknown Facts: Black History

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