A'Lelia Bundles

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A'Lelia Bundles (born June 7, 1952)[1] is an African-American journalist.

Family and early life[edit]

Bundles grew up in Indianapolis in a family of civic minded business executives. She was named after A'Lelia Walker (1885–1931), a central figure of the Harlem Renaissance.[2] who is her great-grandmother and the daughter of entrepreneur Madam C. J. Walker. Her mother, A'Lelia Mae Perry Bundles (1928–1976), who was vice president of the Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company and active in local and state Democratic politics, also served as a member of the Washington Township School Board and was a fiscal administrator with the City of Indianapolis. Her father, S. Henry Bundles, Jr. (1927-), became president of Summit Laboratories, another hair care manufacturer, in 1957 after having worked briefly with the Walker Company. He served as an Indianapolis 500 Festival director for many years and was a board member of the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Bundles graduated in 1970 in the top five per cent of her class from North Central High School where she was co-editor of the Northern Lights, vice president of student council and co-chair and founder of the human relations council that addressed racial issues in a school with a student population that was less than ten percent black. In 1974 Bundles graduated magna cum laude from Radcliffe College.[3] She was inducted into Harvard's Alpha Iota chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.[4] Bundles received a master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 1976.[3]


She is a former producer and executive with ABC News, having served as director of talent development in Washington, DC and New York, as well as in the position of deputy bureau chief in Washington, DC, as a producer for World News Tonight with Peter Jennings and as chair of a diversity council appointed to advise ABC News president David Westin. Prior to joining ABC News, she was a producer with NBC News in the New York, Houston and Atlanta bureaus for The Today Show and NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw. She also was a producer in Washington, DC for two of NBC's magazine programs co-anchored by Connie Chung and Roger Mudd during the 1980s.

Her book, On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker (Scribner, 2001), was named a New York Times' Notable Book in 2001,[5] a 2002 Hurston/Wright Foundation-Borders Books Legacy Award finalist[6] and received the Association of Black Women Historians 2001 Letitia Woods Brown Prize for the best book on black women's history. Her young adult biography, Madam C. J. Walker: Entrepreneur (Chelsea House, 1991) received a 1992 American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation [7] and was named one of Best Books for the Teenage by the New York Public Library in 1991.

A frequent public speaker, Bundles has made presentations about Madam Walker, A'Lelia Walker, the Harlem Renaissance, television journalism, women's history, African-American history, entrepreneurship, financial literacy and philanthropy at conferences, universities and institutions ranging from Harvard University's Business School, London City Hall, the Israeli Presidential Conference and Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women to the U. S. Embassy in Riga, Latvia, the National Association of Women Business Owners, the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University and Spelman College. In 2010 she participated in a Teaching American History Grant panel for Flint, Michigan social studies teachers with Nettie Washington Douglass (a descendant of Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington) and Michelle Duster (a great-granddaughter of journalist and activist Ida B. Wells).

Her articles have appeared in the New York Times Book Review, O (The Oprah Magazine), Fortune Small Business, The Radcliffe Quarterly, Sage, Black Issues Book Review and Ms. She has appeared on NBC's Today, CBS's Sunday Morning, ABC's Good Morning America, NPR's Fresh Air and Morning Edition with Bob Edwards, BBC, PBS, CNN, Chris Rock's Good Hair and numerous local television and radio programs.

She is a trustee[3] of Columbia University and on the boards of the Foundation for the National Archives,[8] the Madame Walker Theatre Center in Indianapolis and the Friends of Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx.

She is a past member of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study's advisory board, the Harvard Alumni Association nominating committee, the Harvard Club of Washington, DC board, the Radcliffe College Trustees Board and the National Women's Hall of Fame board. She was president[9] of the Radcliffe College Alumnae Association from 1999 to 2001 and chair[10] of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism's alumni advisory committee to re-vamp the school's alumni organization in 2006. She has served as a class marshal at all of her Harvard reunions since 1984. She has chaired the National Association of Black Journalists Authors Showcase and the ABWH's Letitia Woods Brown Book and Articles Prize Awards Committee. She is a juror for the duPont Awards at Columbia's Journalism School and also has served as a juror for the Robert F. Kennedy Awards in Broadcast Journalism.

List of works[edit]

  • On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker (Scribner, 2001)
  • Madam C. J. Walker: Entrepreneur (Chelsea House, 1991; revised 2008)
  • Madam Walker Theatre Center: An Indianapolis Treasure (Arcadia Publishing, 2013)
  • "Madam C. J. Walker" and "A'Lelia Walker" entries in Henry Louis Gates and Evelyn Higginbotham's African American National Biography
  • "Madam C. J. Walker" entry in Darlene Clark Hines's Black Women in America.


  • Emmy Award (NBC News)
  • duPont Gold Baton (ABC News 1994)[11]
  • American Book Award 1992[7] for Madam C. J. Walker: Entrepreneur (Chelsea House, 1991)
  • New York Times Notable Book for On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker 2001[5]
  • Black Caucus of the American Library Association Honor Book 2002 [12]
  • Letitia Woods Brown Book Prize from the Association of Black Women Historians 2001
  • Hurston/Wright-Borders Books Legacy Award Finalist 2002 [6]
  • Distinguished alumni awards from Harvard University, Radcliffe College (2004)[13] and Columbia University (2007)[10]
  • Honorary doctorate, Indiana University, 2003[14]
  • North Central High School Hall of Fame
  • Black Memorabilia Hall of Fame


  1. ^ "A'Lelia Perry Bundles". Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale. 2004. 
  2. ^ "A History of Her Own", Indianapolis Woman, February 2001,
  3. ^ a b c "Office of the Secretary of The University: A’Lelia Bundles". Columbia University. 2010. Retrieved 2011-02-03. 
  4. ^ Resnick, Scott (June 9, 1999). "Phi Beta Kappa Honors Harvard Inductees". Harvard Crimson. Retrieved 2011-02-03. 
  5. ^ a b "Notable Books: Nonfiction". New York Times. December 2, 2001. Retrieved 2011-02-03. 
  6. ^ a b http://www.hurstonwright.org/legacy_winners2002.shtml[dead link]
  7. ^ a b American Booksellers Association (2013). "The American Book Awards / Before Columbus Foundation [1980–2012]". BookWeb. Archived from the original on March 13, 2013. Retrieved September 25, 2013. "1992 [...] Madam C.J. Walker, A'Lelia Perry Bundles" 
  8. ^ Foundation for the National Archives Board of Directors
  9. ^ Harvard Gazette: C.J. Walker's story is told at Radcliffe
  10. ^ a b "Trustee Bios". Columbia University. 2010. Retrieved 2011-02-03. 
  11. ^ ABC News Wins duPont Gold Baton
  12. ^ Black Caucus of the American Library Association Literary Awards Winners (1994–Present) — Infoplease.com
  13. ^ Radcliffe Institute to Honor Radcliffe and Harvard Women of Achievement - Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study – Harvard University
  14. ^ Recipients of Indiana University Honorary Degrees

External links[edit]