Benjamin Carson was born to a 13-year-old mother who had dropped out of school in the third grade. Carson said she worked as a domestic at two jobs, and sometimes three, at a time. She felt very strongly that, if she gave up and became a welfare recipient, she would give up control of her life and that of her sons.
When Ben was in fifth grade, he was considered the "dummy" of his class. His classmates and teachers took it for granted that Ben would take an entire quiz without getting a single question right. He had a temper so violent that he would attack other children, even his mother, at the slightest provocation. "I was most likely to end up in jail, reform school, or the grave," he remembers.
But Benjamin Carson, with his mother's determination and help, turned his life around. He graduated from high school with honors, studied at Yale University, and went on to become a world famous pediatric neurosurgeon. In 2008 he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.