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From Poverty To Purpose: The Ben Carson Story | Timeline

[Music] I have a green but one day this nation will [Music] [Music] [Music] Benjamin Solomon Carson was born in Detroit Michigan on September 18th 1951 his life is a remarkable tale of triumph over adversity how did ben Carson evolve from a street kid with an uncontrolled temper into one of the world’s top neurosurgeons there were a lot of problems for me realizing my dream of becoming a physician not the least of which were the fact that my parents got divorced early on that was devastating and my mother was one of 24 children his mom Sonya Copeland never made it past the third grade born in rural Tennessee she grew up in a succession of foster homes here at Mary when she was 13 Jim Robert Carson he was a factory worker at the Cadillac plant and a part-time preacher and they moved from rural Tennessee to Detroit and some years later she discovered he was a bigamist had another family you know she thought it was very strange and we ended up moving to Boston to live with her older sister and brother-in-law typical tenement large multi-family dwelling boarded up windows and doors sirens gangs gigantic rats aggressive roaches if anybody had foretold the future for dr. ben Carson for growing up poor in Detroit’s inner city in the 1960s it may have been as a violent criminal or high school dropout since by his own admission he was known as the hothead class dunce but I remember as a nine-year-old sitting on the ghetto stairs looking through the building across the street out of which all the windows have been broken and through which a sunbeam was shine and it made me think about my future I remember thinking that it was unlikely that I would live to be more than 25 years of age because that’s what I saw around me I’ve never seen people lying on the street with bullet holes the stab wounds both of my older cousins who we adored or killed my mother in the meantime was out working two three jobs at a time leaving at 5:00 in the morning getting back after midnight day after day one job to the next she was so thrifty you know she would go through the goodwill and buy a shirt had big hole in the elbow by two patches and put one on each elbow people would be saying where’d you get that shirt I want one like at Penn’s academic performance worsened in the fifth grade I was a student I was a horrible student I was the worst student you have ever seen in your life and you know I was called dummy everybody called me stupid I was the butt of every joke about anybody being dumb and I didn’t like it but I tried to act like it didn’t bother me but it really did when she realized that Ben and Curtis were wasting their time with constant TV she literally pulled the plug only his mother’s intervention stopped him from wasting his life because she could only find menial work Sonya recognized the importance of education she insisted that they borrow and read two books a week from the local library she refused to let her boys go out and play until their homework was done but despite the fact that no one else believed that my mother did you know we were very poor there was never money for anything but it didn’t cost anything to get a book from the library she demanded weekly book reports to monitor her son’s progress she handed them back with notes even though she was barely literate herself despite his chafing at the restrictions then came to realize that he’d love to learn as I started reading those books as I started a tremendous accomplishment in all kinds of fields it became clear to me that the person who has the most to do it what happens to you in life it’s you what sadness to that poverty didn’t bother me anymore because I knew it was only temporary I knew that I had the ability to change my circumstances this fatherless boy seized with a violent temper led him to physically attack others if angered a dispute over which radio station to listen to caused been to snap he pulled a knife and nearly stabbed person luckily a belt buckle stop bends thrusting blade shaken by what he had nearly done then ran home and locked himself in the bathroom for three hours with a Bible he started praying asking for help with his temper at southwestern high school in inner city Detroit then followed his other brother Curtis into the ROTC program he set a goal for himself of reaching the rank of colonel the highest available to a student Ben’s adult commanding officer told him that he should apply to West Point where he’d be offered a full scholarship instead Ben continued to pursue his dream of becoming a doctor as a youngster the only thing that really interested me was medicine I loved anything that had to do with medicine anything on radio or television about medicine I was right there like a magnet and I even liked going to the doctor’s office that tells you that I was kind of a strange person and going to the hospital was like the best thing in the world because you know most people get irritated and they say my time’s important – I’m sitting there waiting for these doctors but I love waiting for the doctors I would sit out in the hallway and listen to the PA system dr. Jones dr. Jones to the emergency room dr. Johnson to the clinic they sounded so important and I would be thinking one day they’ll be saying dr. Carson dr. Carson for the course now we have beepers so you still don’t get to hear it but despite the downturn in Detroit’s auto industry been persisted in finding summer work between that money earned and a scholarship he managed to attend Yale University where he earned a BA in Psychology in 1973 later Carson enrolled in the University of Michigan Medical School drawing on his fascination with the mind to study neurosurgery in 1975 he married professional violinist Lucinda candy Rustin who he met at Yale after Carson earned his medical degree in 1977 the two of them moved to Baltimore Maryland where he became a resident at Johns Hopkins University that year they went on to have three sons royce benjamin jr and marie carson skill with a scalpel and his superior visualization ability turned him into a first-rate surgeon when i decided that i wanted to be a neurosurgeon i want to go to the place that’s best known for neurosurgery that would be Johns Hopkins by 1982 he was chief resident in neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins through hard work his mother’s love and faith he had fulfilled his dream in 1983 Carson took a position as a neurosurgeon have served Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth Australia in the year he was there honed his skills tremendously he returned to Johns Hopkins in 1984 the next year at age 33 he became the youngest major division director in the hospital’s history as director of pediatric neurosurgery he also became a co-director of the Johns Hopkins cardio facial Center using newly developed techniques on September the 4th 1987 Karstens supervised a team of 70 doctors nurses and support group in a 22 hour surgery to separate to seven month-old twins Patrick and Benjamin bender were joined at the head the children survived although both suffered brain damage but sometimes dreams don’t lead to good places and I’m sure some of you remember the case of the Bassani twins the 29 year old reign Ian women who were joined at the head their lifelong dream was to be separated they scarred the planet looking for a team that would be willing to take on that kind of risk everybody agreed that there was no better than a 50/50 chance of them surviving such an operation when I was first contacted about their case you know I I tell them about Chang’an ding bunker the original Siamese twins who lived until they were 63 years old I didn’t want to hear about that and they kept searching until they found a team that was willing to do it in Singapore and they had actually separated so twins from Nepal some years earlier I was actually involved in that case so they managed to convince me to come and join them against my better judgment but I when I met those young ladies I was duly impressed they were full of personality 85 aja smart had learned to speak English at only seven months if you can imagine that they both had college degrees they both had law degrees only one one at one but they both had a lot of they had a very good impression of the risk that they were undertaking and they said something to me that really struck me they said doctor we would rather die than spend another day stuck together and that seemed kind of harsh to me but then I did something that I highly recommend to everybody I put myself in their shoes I said what would it be like to be stuck to somebody 24/7 couldn’t get away from them for one second it could be the person you like the most in the whole world how long would you like them for and I began to realize what they were feeling well you know that operation proceeded we were in the third day we were about 90 percent finish some people were starting to celebrate I was not among them because when we got to the very last part of the operation they started bleeding under such pressure you couldn’t stop it you put a clip on it and it would rupture behind the clip another clip and it would rupture and it kept rupturing and they died so not everything that we do is successful but interestingly enough if you look throughout the history of surgery you find a lot of failure that eventually leads to success the first kidney transplants horrible disastrous the same thing with heart lungs livers transplanting them horrendous you would have said why did they even bother but every time there was a failure information was gathered things were learned and now all those things can be done quite routinely in 2001 CNN and Time magazine named dr. ben Carson as one of the nation’s 24 most physicians and scientists in his 1992 autobiography gifted hands the ben Carson store was published in short order he published two more best-selling books the big picture in 2000 and think big in 2006 Ben and candy Carson’s books America the Beautiful rediscovering what made this nation great published in 2002 and 2004 One Nation both became the number one New York Times best sellers for more than 20 years Ben and candy Carson through the Carson scholarship fund have awarded one thousand dollars to students in grades four through 11 now we started right right here in Baltimore with twenty five scholarships one for each county in the state and you know the scholarships are given for superior academic performance and demonstration of humanitarian qualities you got to care about other people you can’t just be smart this regardless of socioeconomic background twenty to thirty percent of people who enter high school in this country now do not graduate and this is the information age the technological age that wasn’t such a bad thing during the agricultural age when we were known as the breadbasket of the world could produce more corn wheat and barley than anybody not a problem wasn’t so bad during the industrial age where we could produce more airplanes and cars and sewing machines than anybody else but we’re no longer in the industrial age or the agricultural age where it and the information age where knowledge is power so we can’t afford to have that number of people dropping out of high school fun builds and maintains ben Carson Reading Room’s for children to cultivate the love of reading that turned dr. Carson’s life around we all can benefit from more knowledge you know I like to challenge people to make a promise to themselves that for the next one year they’re gonna spend a half an hour every day learning something new just a half an hour not much time at all well people spend that much time on the toilet take a book in it okay and learn and learn during that time half an hour Carson was forced to slow down after developing prostate cancer in 2002 he fully recovered from the operation and is now cancer-free in 2006 dr. ben Carson received the spring iron medal from the n-double-a-cp the organization’s highest award for outstanding achievement in 2010 dr. Carson was elected to the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine considered one of the highest honors in the field of health and medicine ben Carson has been granted 67 honorary Doctorate degrees and numerous other awards including the United States highest civilian award the Presidential Medal of Freedom I would like to be remembered as a person who helped people to understand the incredible potential that they had and to help people realize that they really don’t have to depend on a lot of other people in February 2013 dr. Carson spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast where he criticized President Barack Obama for his positions on taxation and healthcare you make $10 you put in one of course you got to get rid of the loopholes but [Applause] now now some people say they say well that’s not yeah because it doesn’t hurt the guy who made 10 billion dollars as much as the guy who made 10 where does it say you have to hurt the guy he just put a billion dollars in the pot you know we don’t need to hurt him you know it’s it’s that kind of thinking it’s that kind of thinking that has resulted in 602 banks in the Cayman Islands that money needs to be back here building our infrastructure and creating jobs and we’re smart enough we’re smart enough to figure out how to do that we’ve already started down the path of solving one of the other big problems health care we need to have good health care for everybody it’s the most important thing that a person can have money means nothing titles means nothing when you don’t have your health the following month he announced that he was retiring from his career as a surgeon and turned his attention to politics on May 4th 2015 Carson launched his official bid for the Republican presidential nomination at an event in Detroit he decided to run for president of the United States I’m Ben Carson and I’m a candidate for president of the United States then Carson’s story is inspirational not only because of how far he’s come but because his final chapter is yet to be written [Music]
Video source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ck2flZZ7V0

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