When Ben Carson was in the eighth grade, he listened to a teacher scold his class for allowing him, a black student, to win an achievement award. These early difficulties left Carson with a violent temper as a young man. He was often in fights: “I would fly off the handle,”he told People contributors Linda Kramer and Joe Treen. Once he almost killed a friend in an argument. Carson tried to stab him in the stomach with a knife, but luckily the boy was wearing a heavy belt buckle, which stopped the blade before mortally wounding him.
In his profile on the American Academy of Achievement website, it was noted that Carson “had a temper so violent that he would attack other children, even his mother, at the slightest provocation.”
Both Carson and his brother had a difficult time in school, and their low grades fanned the racial prejudice against them. But their mother took charge oftheir education, even though she herself had not gone past the third grade. By limiting the television they could watch and insisting they both read two books a week and report on them, she helped them raise their grades considerably.
Despite his criminal actions, Ben studied hard and did well enough during high school that he was awarded a scholarship to Yale University. He received his bachelor’s degree from Yale in 1973. He had always dreamed of becoming a doctor and was very interested in psychiatry, but once in medical school at the University of Michigan, he realized he was good with his hands (and cutting) and set his sights on neurosurgery. After completing medical school in 1977, he was one of the few graduates and the first black accepted into the residency program at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. In 1983 because of a shortage of neurosurgeons in Australia, Carson was offered a chief neurosurgical residency at Queen Elizabeth II Medical Center in Perth, where he gained a great deal of operating experience. He returned to Johns Hopkins in 1984, and after a year he was promoted to director of pediatric neurosurgery, becoming one of the youngest doctors in the country to head such a division.