"I'm Ben Carson and I'm a candidate for president of the United States," said the Christian neurosurgeon, 63, in his native Detroit Monday morning.
He may not have the pedigree, the experience or the political machine to compete seriously for the Republican nomination, he admits.
"I'm not even asking people to vote for me," Carson said.
"I'm just asking people to listen," he added, "the real pedigree we need to heal this country is someone who believes in our constitution."
Carson, who now lives in Florida, chose Detroit, the town in which he grew up, for the announcement and began the day with a prayer breakfast.
An assembly at the Detroit high school that bears his name marked the official launch of his presidential campaign, which he confirmed last night.
"People tell you can't do this, you don't have any experience. But I also don't have a lot of experience busting budgets," Carson said at the event.
"If God ordains that we get into White House," the devout Christian added, "we're going to change government into something like a well run business."
As for his competition on the GOP side, from the likes of U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, among (many) possible others?
"If they're all saying the same thing I am, fantastic. The more the merrier, bring 'em on," he said. "Let's talk about what our ideals are."
"The only thing I'm going to be doing," Carson said of his campaign for the White House, "is to encouraging people to think for themselves."
"Listen and think for yourself," he urged voters in the GOP and beyond. "Don't listen to pundits and the people who try to control everything."
Through In speeches around the country, as well as in his autobiography Gifted Hands, the Republican has built a loyal following in recent years.
He often tells of his mother demanding that he read two books a week from Detroit Public Library and write a report that she would work up.
She did this even though she couldn't read the words, a testament to the power of his will, and hers, to make life better however they could.
"The main thing I'm hoping is that a lot of young people will recognize themselves in me," he said of his rise through poverty to medical brilliance.
"Know that it is not enough to just wish," the renowned surgeon added, "that it takes a lot of hard work and dedication, but it can be done."
Carson went on to earn a scholarship and psychology degree at Yale University and a medical degree from the University of Michigan.
"I had a mother who believed in me and who would never allow herself to be a victim," he said during a 2013 speech at the National Prayer Breakfast.
"We did live in dire poverty. I hated poverty."
It was during his speech at that National Prayer Breakfast in 2013 that he burst onto the political scene, criticizing U.S. fiscal and health care policy.
With President Barack Obama sitting just two seats away, Carson said his own health care plan that would be much more efficient than Obamacare.
"We spend a lot of money on health care. And yet, it's not very efficient," he said at the breakfast where he began to build his following.
"When a person is born, give them a birth certificate, an electronic medical record and a health savings account."
"We need good health care for everybody. It's the most important thing that a person can have. But we've got to figure out efficient ways to do it."
In a speech at the Values Voters Conference in 2013, Carson said: "Obamacare is really the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery."
"It is making all of us subservient to the government."
Ben Carson has also made headlines for his devout belief in creationism and a recent remark in which he suggested that being gay is a choice.