Birth Name: Benjamin Solomon Carson
Place of Birth: Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Date of Birth: September 18, 1951
Ben Carson is an American author and retired neurosurgeon. He has been the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, since March 2, 2017.
He was a candidate for the Republican Party’s nomination for President of the United States in 2016.
Ben is the son of African-American parents, Sonya (Copeland) and Robert Solomon Carson, a Christian minister. In 1987, he became the first person to successfully surgically separate conjoined twins joined at the head.
Ben’s paternal grandparents were Robert Carson (the son of Robert Carson and Amy Darden) and Anna/Amy L. Gordon. Ben’s great-grandmother Amy was the daughter of Ethan Darden and Lettie Swan.
Ben’s maternal grandfather was John Martin Copeland (the son of John H. Copeland and Indiana Ash). Indiana was the daughter of Thomas Ash and Millie Gay. The 1870 U.S. Census lists a man named James Ash living near Indiana’s household, who was possibly her grandfather. James is then-listed as being 100 years old, and as having been born in Africa (c. 1770).
Ben’s maternal grandmother was Ruby Stanley (the daughter of Coleman Stanley and Lucy Smith). Lucy was the daughter of Green Smith and Emily.
A DNA test whose results were displayed on the show African American Lives (2006) stated that Ben’s genetic ancestry is:
*80% Sub-Saharan African
In his 2009 book about the show, In Search of Our Roots: How 19 Extraordinary African Americans Reclaimed Their Past, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. wrote that Ben’s African DNA matches the Makua people of Mozambique (through his father’s line), and on his mother’s side, the Yoruba, Bassa, and Edo people of Nigeria, the Mende people of Sierra Leone, the Turkana people of Kenya, the Bamileke people of Cameroon, and the Bantu tribes of the Congo-Angola region.
Sources: Family background of Ben Carson – http://www.theroot.com
Genealogy of Ben Carson – http://www.geni.com
Photo by Gage Skidmore