The Dr. Carson I Met

Friday, June 14, 2013

I met Dr. Ben Carson in person during the 1990's when he was invited to Chattanooga and gave an inspirational speech at the downtown Trade Center. Very few, outside his Seventh Day Adventist Church, knew of him and much of the rest who did considered him uppity and arrogant. He was neither. 

When I was introduced to Dr. Carson he appeared more excited by the tattered, well worn and well read paperback book I took for him to autograph more so than his own accomplishments and life journey. The book was titled Gifted Hands, one of the first books he'd written, I believe. Dr. Carson proudly wanted to know who had read his book seemingly so thoroughly and what appeared to be several times over? I told him besides myself,  my youngest son who carried the book around with him everywhere he went. Dr. Carson was so humbled and grateful that a young teenage man had taken such an interest in his life story that he not only autographed the book but also included a personal and inspiring message to my son.  

My son would carry the book for the next several years, all through  middle school, high school. At  his first job at fifteen, he'd often read the book again and again on his breaks at work. Then through high school and when he attempted to open his own small business with money he'd saved from his job. The business didn't do too well, but the inspirational words of Dr. Carson inspired him to not give up. He'd also carry that worn and tattered book into college and on into the military when he joined the Air Force. A book with a few inspirational words, not put downs, that meant so much to a young man. 

The Dr. Ben Carson I met that day at the Trade Center in the 90's  would be disappointed that someone would use his life story and accomplishments as a cover to demean and vent intolerance, rather than as a means to uplift and inspire.  

Brenda Manghane-Washington

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