Ben Carson's mother, Sonya Carson, passed away on Monday. Mrs. Carson is pictured above left with her son, Ben, and daughter-in-law Candy Carson.
Today, November 6, 2017 we lost my dear mother, Sonya Carson. Although she came from an impoverished background with very little formal education, she somehow understood how success was achieved in our society," he wrote.
He added: "If anyone had a reason to make excuses, it was her, but she absolutely refused to be a victim and would not permit us to develop the victim mentality either."
Though Sonya Carson earned only a third grade education, she instilled the importance of earning a college degree in the boys.
She urged Ben and his older brother Robert to read at least 2 books a week and she told them to present book reports to her about what they'd read -- even though she couldn't read the reports herself.
"But they didn't know that," she told the Detroit Free Press Magazine in 1988.
"Nobody was born to be a failure," she often told her sons.
Carson, who announced his presidential candidacy in 2015, released a statement that year saying his mother was "critically ill."
Now secretary of U.S. Housing and Urban Development, Carson credited his mother's "thrifty" philosophy, spirituality and her work ethic (she worked 3 jobs as a housekeeper) as the motivating factors that drove him to succeed.
"If my mother was Treasury secretary, we would not be in a deficit," he said in 2015.
In his tribute to his mother, Carson, 66, included a poem she recited whenever he and his older brother made excuses.
The poem, "Yourself to Blame" by Mayme White Miller, concludes:
You are the Captain of your ship,
So agree with the same
If you travel downward,
You have yourself to blame.