As Ben Carson bashes Obama, many blacks see a hero’s legacy fade

For many young African Americans who grew up seeing Carson as the embodiment of black achievement — a poor inner-city boy who became one of the world’s most accomplished neurosurgeons — his emergence as a conservative hero and unabashed critic of the United States’ first black president has been jarring…

Carson’s personal accomplishments — and the work he has done to help black communities — still garner respect and pride among African Americans. Yet, while he has been a conservative for as long as he has been famous, many worry that he risks eroding his legacy in their community and transforming himself into a fringe political figure.

Some black pastors who were Carson’s biggest promoters have stopped recommending his book. Members of minority medical organizations that long boasted of their affiliations with him say he is called an “embarrassment” on private online discussion groups.

“Has he lost his sense of who he is?” said the Rev. Jamal Bryant, a prominent black pastor in Baltimore, where Carson lived for decades when he was director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital. “He does not see he is the next Herman Cain.”