Between the several jobs she worked and the scramble to feed her sons, often with food stamps, Sonya Carson used to recite a poem to keep her son Ben and his brother focused on lifting themselves out of their impoverished neighborhood in Detroit. "If things go bad for you and make you a bit ashamed, often you will find out that you have yourself to blame," Mayme White Miller's poem begins. "You're the captain of your ship, so agree with the same, if you travel downward you have yourself to blame." Those words, drummed into Ben Carson's memory, appear to have framed the retired neurosurgeon's views on urban renewal, mandated racial integration and the proper role of government in addressing the nation's social woes. Now Mr. Carson, tapped by President-elect Donald J. Trump to become the next secretary of housing and urban development, will most likely have the power and opportunity to apply his mother's conservative message to people's lives as he heads an agency with a $47 billion budget and a charge to assist millions of low-income renters, fight urban blight and help struggling homeowners stave off foreclosures. Mr. Carson has no experience running a large federal bureaucracy, and… Read full this story
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