DETROIT (Michigan News Source) – Benjamin Solomon Carson, Sr. has quite a list of accomplishments.
The bio about him on the website for the Carson Scholars Fund says, “For a time, the likelihood of Benjamin S. Carson, Sr., M.D. fulfilling his childhood dream of becoming a physician seemed unlikely. Growing up in a single parent home with dire poverty, poor grades, a horrible temper, and low self-esteem appeared to preclude the realization of that dream until his mother, with only a third-grade education, challenged her sons to strive for excellence.”
Striving for excellence resulted in Carson graduating from Yale University and going on to get an M.D. from the University of Michigan Medical School. At the age of 33, he became the chief of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, the youngest major division director in the hospital’s history. In 1987, he completed the first and only successful separation of conjoined twins who were connected at the back of the head.
He directed pediatric neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center for over 29 years and retired in 2013. He’s won numerous awards and honors and founded the Carson Scholars Fund along with his wife, Candy, where they have awarded more than $8 million in scholarships.
Carson also became the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development during the Trump administration and served under the president from 2017 to 2021.
And that’s the problem.
The board for Detroit Public Schools Community District is once again looking at removing his name from the “Benjamin Carson High School of Medicine and Science” and going back to naming the school after Dr. Ethelene Crockett, the first African American woman to become board certified in obstetrics and gynecology.
The news website Chalkbeat Detroit says that the school board is moving ahead with the possible renaming of the school “as school board members respond to complaints about its namesake’s connections to the Trump administration.”
When the school board attempted to change the name back when Carson got his appointment to be in Trump’s cabinet, the attempt failed. Superintendent Nikolai Vitti was at a September 23rd meeting of the school board’s finance committee where he told members that the name change didn’t go through “in large part because of mixed opinions among students and community members” about the change.
Essence Magazine, a lifestyle fashion and beauty magazine for African-American women, had discussed the name removal back in 2020, where they took a political stand on the issue. They said, “There was a time when Ben Carson was highly revered. His contribution to medicine as a neurosurgeon cannot be denied. But ever since Carson found himself working with President Donald Trump (and opening his mouth about politics in general), that admiration has largely fallen by the wayside.”
The Benjamin Carson High School of Medicine and Science currently lavishes praise on Carson on their website. Under the heading of “the name we honor” they say that the school is named “In honor of the acclaimed Detroit-born, African-American pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Benjamin Carson. As a pediatric neurosurgeon formerly on the staff of Johns Hopkins Hospital, Dr. Carson was honored with the 2008 Presidential Medal of Freedom for his contributions. The school aims to honor the contributions Dr. Carson has made not only to the global medical community, but also as a role model for Detroit students with aspirations and interests in science and medical fields.”
They go on to explain, “Dr. Benjamin Carson whose journey from impoverished, inner-city Detroit youth to acclaimed neurosurgeon is remarkable and is a constant reminder to Benjamin Carson students that their career dreams are achievable. Dr. Carson’s professional and personal formula for success, documented in his book Think Big, are embraced by the school community and embedded in the school’s core beliefs and values.”
Whether the Detroit School community and the city of Detroit still feels the same way about Carson as their website says – or if his Trump affiliation will wipe out all of his good work over the decades – will be decided on October 11th when the issue comes up for a vote in front the full school board in order to start the formal process.
None of the board members responded to a request for comment when asked about their position on the matter.