La'Raven Taylor

On Second Thought Producer

La'Raven was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi, so she’s no stranger to the south. La'Raven developed a passion for storytelling at a very young age. She became a features editor on her high school’s newspaper staff and an anchor on the school’s station. She graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a degree in journalism. She started working as an associate producer for WLBT in Jackson, MS. There, she worked her way up to become a senior producer. She also did some reporting. La'Raven is a member of NABJ and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She loves reading, traveling and spending time with her family. She lives by the quote: “I think, therefore I am” by Descartes.

Former first lady Michelle Obama makes a surprise visit to Spelman College in Atlanta on Saturday, May 11.
Robert Jimison / GPB

Former first lady Michelle Obama made a surprise visit to Spelman College ahead of a book tour event in Atlanta for her autobiography, "Becoming."

Health care is the number one cause of personal bankruptcies in the U.S., and medical spending makes up more than 17% percent of the nation’s economy. In other words: going to the doctor can be darned expensive — especially in Georgia. Hear why prices here can be higher and can vary significantly, even in the same city.

 

 


Hope Givers Festival / Twitter

The U.S. Mental Health Care System is a multi-billion dollar industry, yet countless people living with or affected by mental illness fall through the cracks.

Georgia ranks 47th out of 50 for access to mental health care, resources and insurance coverage making it even tougher to live with disorders most data and experts find to be under-researched, undertreated and over-stigmatized.

Growing up in Atlanta in the 1970s, Jonathan Weisman didn't think much about anti-Semitism. In fact, he didn't think much about being Jewish until 2016. That's when, as deputy editor of the Washington Bureau of The New York Times, he posted a quote from an op-ed about facism on Twitter. That tweet unleashed a torrent of anti-Semitic images, threats and other forms of cyber-stalking that shattered his complacency.


Gnats don’t read maps, but the bugs do seem hesitant to cross an unseen, geographic boundary in Georgia. Learn about the disparities north and south of the "gnat line" from Tales from the Gnat Line author and longtime state lawmaker Larry Walker.


La'Raven Taylor

In the American South, there are state borders, variations in topography and accents. There's also the gnat line. That's the fall line where the piedmont meets the coastal plain. It's actually the sandy soil south of the line where gnats or pesky little critters live out their short lives, but they also have a penchant for flying into noses and eyes.


Courtesy of Happy Fish Productions

Professional wrestling boomed when cable hit in the late '70s and early '80s. Shows like Georgia Championship Wrestling and Mid-South Wrestling planted dreams of glory in the heads and hearts of muscular southern boys. Ted "The Million Dollar Man" DiBiase, Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka and Billy "Superstar" Graham all had important matches in Georgia. They are among dozens of stars who took hits outside the ring. 

The documentary film 350 Days looks into the hard knock lives of professional wrestlers in what's known as the golden age of wrestling.


Even if you can't put your finger on it, Takénobu's music might sound familiar to you. That's because the "cinematic folk" from the classically trained Atlanta locals are frequently used on NPR shows and in video or film, including the new documentary 42 Grams.

Takénobu takes its name from cellist Nick Ogawa, who performs with his violinist (and fiancée) Kathryn Koch. The two have a new album called Conclusion coming out on May 24, and an upcoming tour with Kishi Bashi. But before they gear up for a big 2019, they joined On Second Thought to share their story.


Hate incidents are on the rise in American schools, according to a new report from the Teaching Tolerance project at the Southern Poverty Law Center. Teaching Tolerance Director Maureen Costello joined On Second Thought on the line from Montgomery, Alabama, to discuss the report's findings.


Courtesy of Ten Speed Press

Ernest Matthew Mickler's White Trash Cooking was released in 1986 to mixed reviews. Some of the recipes in the cookbook include "Uncle Willie's Swamp Cabbage Stew," "Rabbit Pie" and "Broiled Squirrel." Critics wondered if the book was for shock value or if it was just another elitist dig at poor southerners.  

Michael Adno's profile of Mickler portrays a man who took pride in his disappearing southern heritage and in the food served by his Florida relatives and neighbors —the same people he felt rejected by as a gay man.


You may have heard Curtis Harding's voice before, perhaps without realizing it. That's because, for a number of years, he worked with a familiar Atlanta native: CeeLo Green. Harding sang back-up vocals for CeeLo and even co-wrote songs with the Grammy Award-winning musician, like "Grand Canyon" — which was a bonus track on CeeLo's 2010 album, The Lady Killer

After that and several other collaborations, Harding launched his solo career, applying his distinctive falsetto vocals to his own style of music, which he calls "slop 'n' soul."

 


For The Culture: Unpacking Beyoncé's 'Homecoming'

May 3, 2019
Credit: Frank Micelotta/Invision for Parkwood Entertainment / AP Images

Beyoncé's bleacher-thundering, exquisitely choreographed performances at the Coachella Music Festival in 2018 showed a performer at the top of her game. Queen Bey managed to stop the world again with the realease of Homecoming, a live double album and Netflix documentary about what it took to put those two successive weekend productions together. 

Homecoming has been dissected and analyzed in several ways, but On Second Thought wanted to get deeper perspectives and who better to navigate those nuances than Christine White and Danene Millner? They're co-hosts of GPB-TV's A Seat At The Table.


Over his 19-year career with the Navy SEALs, Special Operations Chief Edward "Eddie" Gallagher earned high honors for valor and leadership as a medic, sniper and explosives expert. But less than a year after Gallagher returned from his eighth deployment – fighting the Islamic State in Mosul, Iraq – he drew a different kind of attention from the Navy: he was charged with war crimes, among them premeditated murder. Gallagher's case goes to trial in May. He and his family have denied all charges.

When New York Times national correspondent Dave Philipps began reporting on Gallagher's case, he thought he might learn that Gallagher had suffered some kind of psychotic break as the result of numerous combat deployments over the course of nearly two decades. But what Philipps has found, through interviews and hundreds of pages of internal military documents, defied expectations. Joining on the line from Colorado Springs, Colorado, Philipps told On Second Thought that Gallagher's case reveals a Navy SEAL culture "split between loyalty and justice." 

 


Jae C. Hong / AP Images

Georgia is home to hundreds of thousands of military veterans. The state also boasts tens of thousands of active duty and reserve personnel. Sometimes, those numbers come with four letters: PTSD or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. 

On Second Thought continued a conversation with New York Times reporter David Philipps about his investigative research on Navy Seals and war crimes. Liza Zwiebach also joined the conversation with her clinical expertise. 


Upon first listen, you may not realize that the dreamy indie-pop music of Philadelphia-based Japanese Breakfast was inspired by grief.

Michelle Zauner, the woman behind the songs, began the project while navigating her mother's battle with cancer, and mourning her death. Both of Japanese Breakfast's albums — 2016's Psychopomp and 2017's Soft Sounds From Another Planet — were an exploration of that pain and sadness. That does not mean the albums sound morose, though.

 


A recent study by the American Lung Association shows the air along Georgia's coast and in the mountains is clean and unpolluted. But in the metro Atlanta area, residents should be wary of what they're breathing in.

National Senior Vice President of Public Policy Paul Billings spoke with On Second Thoughtabout what it means that five metro Atlanta counties received failing grades on air quality while the cities of Augusta and Savannah earned A's.

 


Understanding what southern ladies really mean has nothing to do with accents. That's what author Helen Ellis wants people who aren't from the South to understand. The author stopped by On Second Thought to talk about her new book, "Southern Lady Code." 

Ellis says the title refers to the, “technique by which, if you don't have something nice to say, you say something not-so-nice in a nice way.”  


An estimated one million people thronged to Atlanta for the 2019 Super Bowl. When the opposing teams and visiting fans returned home, a series of murals depicting Atlanta's civil rights and social justice journey stayed behind. 

Among the 11 artists who painted murals for the WonderRoot "Off The Wall" initiative surrounding the big game is renowned artist Gilbert Young. His iconic, 40-year old image, "He Ain't Heavy" is now installed in huge scale on the side of Capitol Gateway Apartments in Atlanta. 

Courtesy of Gilbert Young/Facebook

An estimated one million people thronged to Atlanta for the 2019 Super Bowl. When the opposing teams and visiting fans returned home, a series of murals depicting Atlanta's civil rights and social justice journey stayed behind. 

Among the 11 artists who painted murals for the WonderRoot "Off The Wall" initiative surrounding the big game is renowned artist Gilbert Young. His iconic, 40-year old image "He Ain't Heavy" is now installed in huge scale on the side of Capitol Gateway Apartments in Atlanta. 


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been more than 200,000 opioid-related deaths in the United States over the last two decades. Georgia has some of the nation's hardest-hit counties. White users have largely been the face of the epidemic, but the problem affects every demographic.


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Chadwick Boseman, Oprah Winfrey and Spike Lee are all graduates of historically black colleges and universities. For more than a century, HBCUs provided the foundation for countless dynamic and influential leaders. Now, some academic finance experts predict that a quarter of those schools could be gone within 20 years.


Mike Stewart / AP

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Chadwick Boseman, Oprah Winfrey and Spike Lee are all graduates of historically black colleges and universities. For more than a century, HBCUs provided the foundation for countless dynamic and influential leaders. Now, some academic finance experts predict that a quarter of those schools could be gone within 20 years.


From the mountains to the coast to the forest, Georgia is a beautiful place for spending time outdoors.  GPB journalists are celebrating that splendor with Wild Georgia, a series of in-depth reports airing this month during Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

Ross Terrell and Emily Jones are among those working on the series, and they stopped by On Second Thought to take their stories a little deeper.  Ross talked about Atlanta’s lush tree canopy, and Emily explained how sharks sense the world around them.

 


Women in Georgia are more likely to die from pregnancy-related and associated complications than in Uzbekistan. The state allocated $2 million to help reduce that number in this year's health budget.

On Second Thought spoke with Wanda Irving, whose daughter, Shalon, died after giving birth in metro Atlanta, and Breanna Lipscomb, U.S. maternal health campaign manager for The Center For Reproductive Rights, about efforts to improve maternal health outcomes in Georgia and across the nation.


Casimir Pulaski was born in Poland in 1745. After proving his military mastery in independence struggles across Europe, Pulaski moved to Boston in 1777. He formed the colonists' first legion on horseback, became Brigadier General and saved George Washington's retreating troops at Brandywine. Pulaski was later mortally wounded, and died, amid the 1779 Siege of Savannah. But for centuries, his final resting place remained a mystery.

Earlier this month, the Smithsonian Channel revealed not only that the "father of the American cavalry" was indeed buried in Savannah – but also that Pulaski may biologically been intersex. Both breakthroughs came after decades of research by a team based in Georgia with help from colleagues across the United States, Poland and Canada.


Courtesy of Neon

Long before Aretha Franklin became known as "The Queen of Soul," she was singing gospel in her father's church. A new documentary called "Amazing Grace" highlights the recording of her 1972 Grammy-Award winning album of the same name over two nights at a church in south Los Angeles. That footage has never been released publicly — until now. 

Alan Elliott directed the film and spoke with On Second Thought host Virginia Prescott about the delays in releasing the documentary. Producer Tirrell Whittley also joined the conversation. 


COURTESY YALE LAW SCHOOL/HENRY HOLT AND CO.

Eunice Hunton Carter was New York's first African-American assistant district attorney. The Atlanta native was the granddaughter of slaves, and now her grandson, Stephen Carter, is bringing her story to light. 

Invisible: The Forgotten Story of the Black Woman Lawyer Who Took Down America's Most Powerful Mobster tells the story of Eunice, the black woman and prosecutor who helped take down Charles "Lucky" Luciano. Eunice was born in Atlanta during a time when race riots were on the rise in the city. Her family eventually moved to Brooklyn in 1906. By 1936, Eunice found evidence linking organized crime to Luciano. On Second Thought host Virginia Prescott spoke with Eunice's grandson Stephen about his family's history. 


Emory University

Images are powerful. It was cell phone video and stills of unarmed black men and women being killed over the past several years that launched inquiries into use of force by police and sparked the Black Lives Matter movement. It's what inspired visual and performance artist and scholar Fahamu Pecou for his new exhibit showing at the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University.


As peak tornado season bears down on the Southeast, On Second Thought is looking at who gets aid after disasters. A recent NPR investigation found that federal emergency has been a political football played by both parties. Research from Carnegie Mellon and other sources shows that how much people affected by disasters get depennds on how your district votes.

Robert Benincasa is a producer for NPR Investigations. He researched and reported on the thousands of disaster buyouts Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA didn't want people to see.


In the late 19th Century, Lulu Hurst transfixed audiences as the "Georgia Wonder." An electrical storm supposedly gave the teenager supernatural powers to catapult grown men from chairs. She performed on stages from Cedartown, Georgia, to the East Coast and Midwest.

Hurst appeared in front of members of congress and government scientists. She was tested by Alexander Graham Bell, the faculty at Mercer University and the Medical College of Georgia - all baffled by mysterious force of the "electric maid."

 


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