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.

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."

 


Courtesy of Karen Lawson

Before Atari, Nintendo and PlayStation there was Fairchild Channel F. The 1976 model heralded an innovation that changed the gaming industry forever: interchangeable cartridges for consumer gaming consoles. The literal game changer was the brainchild of Jerry Lawson. 

Poker and chess are both considered professional sports. Competitive gaming is now on that list. Esports is, in fact, booming. Market watchers predict revenues to hit $1.5 billion by 2020. The gaming industry is so big that Georgia high schools got the green light to form student esports teams in 2018. 

As the definition of athletes expands, so do demands to treat gaming-related injuries. Dr. Vonda Wright is an Atlanta-based orthopedic surgeon. She's currently partnering with game developers Skillshot Media to research and treat professional gamers. Wright spoke with On Second Thought host Virginia Prescott about her efforts. 

 


Courtesy of Matthias Rietschel / AP Images

Poker and chess are both considered professional sports. Competitive gaming is now on that list. Esports is, in fact, booming. Market watchers predict revenues to hit $1.5 billion by 2020. The gaming industry is so big that Georgia high schools got the green light to form student esports teams in 2018. 

As the definition of athletes expands, so do demands to treat gaming-related injuries. Dr. Vonda Wright is an Atlanta-based orthopedic surgeon. She's currently partnering with game developers Skillshot Media to research and treat professional gamers. Wright spoke with On Second Thought host Virginia Prescott about her efforts. 


The Masters begins tomorrow at the legendary Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. It's among professional golf's most prestigious tournaments, bringing in big names like Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods.

Last week, the golf course made history, hosting its first women's tournament: the Augusta National Women's Amateur. On Second Thought spoke with Bob Harig, senior golf writer for ESPN who joined the program from Augusta, about what it took to get women on the famous green. Anya Alvarez, former Ladies Professional Golf Association player and women's sports journalist, also joined the conversation from New York.

 


The University of Tennessee is making a big promise: Starting in 2020, the system will offer free tuition to qualifying low-income students enrolling at its Knoxville, Chattanooga and Martin campuses.

The program, called UT Promise, is the first of its kind among public universities in the South. UT Interim President Randy Boyd, a first-generation college graduate himself, is the architect of the program. Boyd joined On Second Thought from WUOT in Knoxville to explain why Tennessee is making this promise, how the university will fund it and how other Southern states could follow suit. 

 


The Patients First Act is now Georgia law. It allows Gov. Brian Kemp’s office to request a Medicaid waiver from the federal government. Both proponents and opponents of the move are making it clear a waiver isn’t the same as full Medicaid expansion, which is what then-President Obama envisioned for states when crafting the Affordable Care Act.

Democrats say a waiver doesn’t go far enough while some conservatives say even a partial expansion is too costly.


The Final Four is set. Baseball season is on, and, for the first time ever, there's a Masters tournament for women. In the world of esports, hundreds of fans and players gather Saturday at Georgia State University for the PantherLAN tournament.

Georgia State students Aimee Vu and Praful Gade will be there. Vu and Gade, along with esports program coordinator Lucas Bailey, joined "On Second Thought" with the latest on collegiate esports in Georgia.


By 2050, the world's population is expected to reach 9.8 billion people. According to a report by the United Nations, nearly 70% of them are projected to live in urban areas. If current patterns hold, those who flock to the megacities of the future will face issues with affordable housing and increased hours in traffic. The impact on low-income pepole and the environment will be especially acute. 

 

National Geographic's special edition issue on the future of cities explores how planners, innovators and policymakers will cope with the influx. Rob Kunzig, the magazine's senior environment editor, visited cities across the world, including Atlanta and Duluth. He wrote about his findings in a feature called "Rethinking Cities." Kunzig joined On Second Thought from NPR in Washington with more on the future of urban life.


La'Raven Taylor/GPB

You may have heard of Ruby Bridges or the "Little Rock Nine" walking through a gauntlet of jeering protestors as they made their way to school. Just a few states over in Georgia, Dr. Michael McBay was among less-photographed pioneers.

In 1967, McBay along with six other students were among the first African-American students to attend the Westminster Schools, an elite private school in Buckhead. McBay's younger brother, Ron, later enrolled at Westminster Schools in 1968. Shortly after, Vic Bolton enrolled in the institution.


Sine Die is over and so is the 2019 session of the Georgia General Assembly. Lawmakers considered almost a hundred bills over a period of 14 hours on Tuesday. GPB politics reporter Stephen Fowler was there for the whole 40 days of the session, and he gave continuing updates to On Second Thought listeners throughout those weeks. Lawmakers capitol correspondent Donna Lowry provided ongoing coverage for GPB television viewers. They both stopped by the show after Sine Die to recap the closing hours of the session.


Today's show featured conversations on racial discrimination in Airbnb bookings and a new book focusing on the strength and spirit of boyhood.

The NAACP is partnering with Airbnb to prevent user bias on the home rental platform. The organization also wants to promote Airbnb as an economic opportunity in communities of color in Atlanta. GPB reporter Ross Terrell followed the story and joined On Second Thought to discuss the partnership.


Today's show featured conversations on disaster relief for Georgia communities, a new release from the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and a recap of bills moving through the state legislature.

Since Hurricane Michael, On Second Thought has heard from Georgia farmers whose crops were devastated by the storm. Their 2018 farm loans are coming due and yet the promised federal disaster funds they need to balance their books isn't here. Sen. David Perdue joined On Second Thought to provide an update on these funds.


Today's show featured interviews with a Georgia film critic and two photographers discussing a new exhibit at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta.

Jackie K. Cooper is a retiree who's practiced law, served in the U.S. Air Force and written seven books. The 77-year-old can now add another title to his enviable resume: overnight YouTube sensation. Cooper has reviewed movies, books and television shows on his YouTube page for the past 12 years.


Courtesy YouTube

Jackie K. Cooper is a retiree who's practiced law, served in the U.S. Air Force and written seven books. The 77-year-old can now add another title to his enviable resume: YouTube sensation. Cooper has reviewed movies, books and television shows on his YouTube page for the past 12 years.

He joined On Second Thought on the line from Perry, Georgia, to explain how he went from 136 to 150,000 subscribers in less than one month on YouTube. 


Today's show featured conversations on parental incarceration and the Ocmulgee National Monument in Macon, along with a new entry in our "Main Ingredient" series.

The Atlanta-based nonprofit Foreverfamily helps strengthen the bonds between incarcerated parents and their children through educational programming and visitation. Sandra Barnhill is the founder and national president of the organization. She joined "On Second Thought" to discuss how Foreverfamily helps parents and kids foster relationships inside and outside of prison.


COURTESY NATIONAL PARK SERVICE

Macon's Ocmulgee mounds are now part of a national historic park. The area was a national monument and earned an expanded designation under the law President Trump signed in early March. The park is  exponentially expanding in size -- going from 702 acres to nearly 3,000. 

The Muscogee Indians built the Ocmulgee mounds more than a thousand years ago. They also identify as the "Creek" nation. GPB reporter Grant Blankenship has been following the story in Macon and spoke with "On Second Thought" host Virginia Prescott about the history of the mounds. 


More than a half a million Americans are homeless. In metro Atlanta, more than 3,000 people live on the streets, in shelters and in cars.

A new traveling museum uses stories, photos and virtual reality to give visitors a sense of what it's like to be homeless. It's called Dignity Museum, and the traveling museum shares the stories of those who are often forgotten. 

 


Twitter.com/Love Beyond Walls

More than a half a million Americans are homeless. In metro Atlanta, more than 3,000 people live on the streets, in shelters and in cars.

A new traveling museum uses stories, photos and virtual reality to give visitors a sense of what it's like to be homeless. It's called Dignity Museum, and the traveling museum shares the stories of those who are often forgotten. 


Lawmakers have only six legislative days left to debate and pass bills that could change policies all over the state. This week brought continued discussion about the potential Atlanta airport takeover and intense debate over women's reproductive rights.  GPB politics reporter Stephen Fowler joined "On Second Thought" to discuss this week in Georgia politics.


Courtesy of Bonnie L. Heath / Berkley

Families often share genetic traits. They also share unfortunate pain, secrets and trauma. That's what Anissa Gray writes about in her debut novel, "The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls."

Gray is a senior editor at CNN Worldwide and recipient of the Alfred duPont-Columbia University award for journalism. The Atlanta-based author spoke with "On Second Thought" about her new book. 


Courtesy of Cherry Blossom Festival, Macon

"On Second Thought" kicked off the first day of spring with a preview of events happening around Georgia.

Theater critic and Arts ATL contributor Kelundra Smith shared her picks for seasonal shows, festivals and events. 


State officials say more than 100,000 service members from Georgia were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan between 2001 and 2012. Nationally, about 20 percent of veterans coming back from those conflicts have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and traumatic brain injuries. Alchemy Sky Foundation is an Atlanta organization that helps people heal through music. It recently worked with a group of metro Atlanta veterans to create a song called "Adjust Fire." 


Courtesy of Alchemy Sky Foundation

State officials say more than 100,000 service members from Georgia were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan between 2001 and 2012. Nationally, about 20 percent of veterans coming back from those conflicts have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and traumatic brain injuries.

Alchemy Sky Foundation is an Atlanta organization that helps people heal through music. It recently worked with a group of metro Atlanta veterans to create a song called "Adjust Fire." 


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