Happy Black History Month!
The story of Black America is one of a struggle for freedom, of overcoming impossible odds, of using the opportunity of America to prosper and innovate. My great great grandparents could never have imagined the height to which many of their descendants have ascended. What would have seemed impossible then is now normal. Ours is a story connected to the very birth of this nation, one defined by superior ideas like freedom, faith, and self-reliance. What could be more American?
This is a story that belongs to all of America. We here at RedState are excited to celebrate Black History Month, because it is a month to celebrate freedom, capitalism, and the story of a nation that is always working to be better than we were yesterday. This month, you’ll see pieces like this from our excellent writing staff, highlighting stories (both familiar and unfamiliar) of Black Americans who have contributed to this nation and their communities, and made our country better for their work. We’re proud of this country, and Black History Month is a great way to talk openly and boldly about that pride. We hope you’ll share these stories of great Americans.
To start off the series, we celebrate an American hero who is very familiar to RedState readers…Dr. Ben Carson.
These days, Dr. Ben Carson is talked about more for his involvement in the Trump administration than anything else. As the 17th United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 2017 to 2021, Carson solidified himself as a part of a legacy that will spend many decades (if not forever) mired in controversy. That is a shame, and an unfair one at that, because before his political career, Ben Carson was the most prominent neurosurgeon in history, and he literally changed the trajectory of American, and global, medicine forever.
Carson grew up in Detroit, no stranger to familial struggles and financial hardships. His mother raised him and his brother without a husband in the home, after learning the man she thought was her husband was actually still married. She struggled to raise her sons in less-than-ideal circumstances, but she valued education, and raised Carson to be a life-long learner.
That love of learning led Carson into the medical field. He studied at Yale, the University of Michigan Medical School and ultimately joined the John Hopkins University School of Medicine neurology program, where he went on to become the chief resident in 1983.
Carson changed the world of pediatric neurosurgery. He was the youngest pediatric surgeon in the nation at the age of 33.
In 1987 he led the surgical team that performed the first successful separation of conjoined twins, Patrick and Benjamin Binder, who were joined at the back of the head. That surgery became somewhat of a “bible” for conjoined surgeries in the future. What had once been impossible became a possibility, albeit a risky one.
Carson went on to develop new surgery techniques in pediatric neurosurgery that have since become the standard across the world, and during his career he was the foremost neurosurgeon in the nation. The John Hopkins alum was commissioned to manage some of the most difficult pediatric neurosurgery cases in the country. His career was so celebrated, Carson’s lab coat is displayed in Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Carson’s story was so inspiring and ground-breaking, it was turned into a television movie in 2009, starring Academy Award winning actor Cuba Gooding, Jr. To this day, the neurosurgeon credits his faith, his mother, and his country with his success, and has dedicated his foundation – American Cornerstone Institute – to promoting and preserving the foundations of “the greatest nation the world has ever seen.”
Of course, we can’t forget that he also ran for President, ultimately bowing out to eventually join the winning Trump administration.
While his brief foray into politics have sadly driven some to try to erase his extensive contributions to medicine, Carson’s impact on the healing industry cannot be underestimated. His story is the American Dream personified, and his legacy is one that every American can be proud of.
This Black History Month, RedState is proud to celebrate Dr. Ben Carson.
*Below is an interview I was privileged to conduct with Dr. Carson for my podcast, Just Listen to Yourself. He was as charming and gracious as you can imagine, and it was an honor.
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