CNN Editorial Research
Here’s a look at the life of former US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon and former presidential candidate.
Date of Birth: September 18, 1951
Place of birth: Detroit, Michigan
Birth name: Benjamin Solomon Carson
Dad: Robert Carson, car factory worker
Mother: Sonya (Copeland) Carson, housekeeper
Wedding: Lacena “Candy” (Rustin) Carson (July 1975–present)
Children: Murray, Benjamin Jr and Rhoeyce
Education: Yale University, BA in Psychology, 1973; University of Michigan, MD, School of Medicine, 1977
Religion: Seventh Day Adventist
When Carson became director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins at age 33, he was the youngest to lead a major division in the hospital’s history.
His parents separated when he was 8, after it was revealed that his father was bigamous. He and his brother were raised by their mother.
Carson admits he had a violent temper in his youth and says one of the defining moments in his life happened when he was 14. Carson attempted to stab a classmate, but luckily the boy’s belt buckle jammed the knife. After praying for three hours, Carson “understood that picking on people isn’t a sign of strength, it’s a sign of weakness.”
Known for offering provocative comments on a wide range of issues, including comparing modern US government to Nazi Germany in a March 2014 interview with Breitbart, and at the 2013 Values Voters Summit, claiming that Obamacare is “the worst thing that has happened to this nation since slavery.
1977-1978 – General surgery fellow at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
1978-1982 – Completed his neurosurgery residency at Johns Hopkins.
1982-1983 – Chief Resident in Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins.
1983-1984 – Chief of Clinic in Neurosurgery at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth, Australia.
1984-2013 – Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.
1987 – Lead neurosurgeon of the team who performs the first successful surgery to separate conjoined twins connected at the back of the head (occipital craniopagus twins).
1990 – Carson’s best-selling autobiography, “Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story”, is published.
1994 – Founds the Carson Scholars Fund with his wife, which facilitates recreational reading for children and funds college scholarships for students with strong academic and humanitarian records.
1997 – Senior neurosurgeon on the team who performs the first fully successful surgery to separate type 2 vertical craniopagus twins (joined at the top of the head and facing opposite directions), where both twins survive and are neurologically normal.
2002 – Co-founded the Benevolent Endowment Network (BEN) fund, which provides financial support for medical expenses for pediatric neurosurgery patients.
August 2002 – Undergoing surgery for prostate cancer. He was then declared free of cancer.
2004 – Appointed by President George W. Bush to the Presidential Council on Bioethics.
June 19, 2008 – Receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bush.
February 7, 2009 – Cuba Gooding Jr. plays Carson in the made-for-TV movie, “Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story.”
February 7, 2013 – Attracts national attention after criticizing Democratic tax and health care policies during his opening address at the National Prayer Breakfast.
July 1, 2013 – Retired from Johns Hopkins as Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery, Professor, and Co-Director of the Craniofacial Center.
October 2013-November 2014 – Contributor for Fox News.
November 2014 – Officially changes his party affiliation from Registered Independent to Republican, a move he later acknowledges was spurred by a possible presidential race.
March 4, 2015 – On CNN’s “New Day,” Carson says homosexuality is a choice because people “walk right into jail – and when they come out, they’re gay.” He later apologizes for his comments, but says the science is still murky on the matter.
May 4, 2015 – Officially announces his candidacy for President of the United States in his hometown of Detroit.
March 2, 2016 – After a disappointing end to Super Tuesday, Carson announces that he “sees no political way forward” in the Republican presidential nomination process and will not be attending the upcoming GOP presidential debate in Detroit.
March 4, 2016 – In a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference meeting in National Harbor, Maryland, Carson officially ends his presidential campaign and reveals his next move: to become the national chairman of My Faith Votes, a group focused on obtaining the Christian vote in November.
March 11, 2016 – Carson announces his support for GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump.
November 15, 2016 – A close adviser to Carson told CNN that Carson declined an offer from President-elect Trump to join his cabinet as secretary of health and human services.
December 5, 2016 – Trump’s transition team announces that Carson will be named the next secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
March 2, 2017 – Carson was confirmed as HUD secretary with a 58-41 vote in the Senate.
February 2018 – CNN obtains November 2017 complaint from former HUD chief executive, who said he was told to “find money” beyond the $5,000 legal limit to redecorate Carson’s office . Shortly after, it is revealed that HUD spent $31,000 replacing a dining set for the office. Carson said in a statement to CNN that he was “surprised” by the order and had it canceled.
May 16, 2019 – In a letter to Congress, the general counsel for the Government Accountability Office said HUD broke the law by spending about $40,000 in 2017 on a new dining set and dishwasher for Carson’s office. .
September 12, 2019 – HUD’s internal watchdog clears Carson of wrongdoing for his plan to buy a $31,000 dining room set without telling Congress.
November 9, 2020 – HUD Deputy Chief of Staff Coalter Baker releases a statement that Carson has tested positive for the coronavirus. “He is in good spirits and feels lucky to have access to effective treatments that are helping him and dramatically speeding up his recovery.”
May 17, 2022 – Carson’s book “Created Equal: The Painful Past, Confusing Present, and Hopeful Future of Race in America” is published.
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