A'Lelia Bundles

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A'Lelia Bundles
National Archives Image - 20160704-10 (28091367535).jpg
National Archives Foundation leaders A'Lelia Bundles and Patrick Madden at the July 4th celebration at the National Archives in Washington (2016).
Born(1952-06-07)June 7, 1952
EducationHarvard College, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
AwardsduPont Gold Baton
American Book Award, 1992
Black Caucus of the American Library Association Honor Book 2002
American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2015
MacDowell Colony Fellowship, 2017

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

Family and early life[edit]

Bundles grew up in Indianapolis in a family of civic minded business executives that belonged to the African-American upper class. She was named after her great-grandmother A'Lelia Walker (1885–1931), a central figure of the Harlem Renaissance[2] and daughter of Madam C. J. Walker, the early 20th century entrepreneur, hair care industry pioneer and philanthropist. Bundles's mother, A'Lelia Mae Perry Bundles (1928–1976), was vice president of her family's business, the Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company, and also was active in local and state Democratic politics as well as serving as a member of the Washington Township School Board.[3] Her father, S. Henry Bundles, Jr. (1927-), was the founding executive director[4] and long time president of the Center for Leadership Development.[5] In 1957, after a brief stint as general sales manager with the Walker Company,[6] he became president of Summit Laboratories (another black hair care products manufacturer), where he remained until the mid-1970s.[7] He headed the Indianapolis Business Development Foundation,[8] served as an Indianapolis 500 Festival director[9] for many years and was on the executive committee[10] of the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Bundles's interest in writing began in elementary school. In 1967, she was named editor-in-chief of Hi-Lights, Westlane Junior High School's newspaper, which received several honors including first place awards from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, the Indiana High School Press Association and Quill and Scroll.[11] In 1970 Bundles graduated from North Central High School[12] in the upper five per cent of her class.[13] She was co-editor of the Northern Lights, vice president of student council and chairman of the Human Relations Council, a group of black, white and foreign exchange students.[13] In 1974 Bundles graduated from Harvard College.[14] She was inducted into Harvard's Alpha Iota chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.[15] Bundles received a master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 1976.[14]


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,[16] and received the Association of Black Women Historians 2001 Letitia Woods Brown Prize for the best book on black women's history. On Her Own Ground was optioned in 2017 by Zero Gravity Management for a television series starring Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer, who also is a producer of the project.[17]

Her young adult biography, Madam C. J. Walker: Entrepreneur (Chelsea House, 1991), received a 1992 American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation.[18]

She is a trustee[19] of Columbia University and served as chair and president of the Board of Directors of the National Archives Foundation from 2011 to 2017.[20]

She is a member of the Schlesinger Library's advisory board at Harvard's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study[21] and a past member of 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[22] of the Radcliffe College Alumnae Association from 1999 to 2001. She is a past vice chair of the Columbia Alumni Association[23] and chaired the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism's 2006 alumni advisory committee to restructure the school's alumni organization.[24]

As Madam C. J. Walker's biographer, she maintains the Madam Walker Family Archives and shares the Walker legacy in speeches, articles and various public projects.[25] She is a consultant and historical advisor with Madam C. J. Walker Beauty Culture, a line of hair care products developed by Sundial Brands.[26]

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)
  • Foreword to Selected Speeches of Barack Obama (National Archives, 2017)
  • All about Madam C. J. Walker (Cardinal Publishing, 2018)
  • "The Armor We Still Need" (essay) in The Burden: African Americans and the Enduring Impact of Slavery (Wayne State University Press, 2018)
  • "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.



  1. ^ "A'Lelia Perry Bundles". Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale. 2004.
  2. ^ "A History of Her Own", Indianapolis Woman, February 2001,
  3. ^ ""Mrs. S. Henry Bundles Dies"". Indianapolis Star. 1976-01-07. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  4. ^ ""Success Stories"". Indianapolis Star. 1993-11-28. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  5. ^ "Legends In Their Own Time". Indianapolis Star. 2005-07-19. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  6. ^ ""Madam Walker"". New York Age. 1957-03-09. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  7. ^ ""Firms Help Top, Bottom"". Indianapolis Star. 1966-11-30. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  8. ^ ""Grant Provides More Funds"". Indianapolis Star. 1972-08-02. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  9. ^ ""500 Festival Associates Elect Walsh President"". Indianapolis Star. 1974-06-26. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  10. ^ ""Newsmakers"". Indianapolis Star. 1988-05-10. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  11. ^ ""Westlane First Junior High To Win Award"". Indianapolis Star. 1967-02-05. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  12. ^ a b "North Central High School Hall of Fame". North Central High School. 2016. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  13. ^ a b ""LeLe Has Wide Interests"". Indianapolis Star. 1969-11-08. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  14. ^ a b "Office of the Secretary of The University: A'Lelia Bundles". Columbia University. 2016. Retrieved Oct 17, 2016.
  15. ^ Resnick, Scott (June 9, 1999). "Phi Beta Kappa Honors Harvard Inductees". Harvard Crimson. Retrieved 2011-02-03.
  16. ^ a b "Notable Books: Nonfiction". The New York Times. December 2, 2001. Retrieved 2011-02-03.
  17. ^ "Variety". Retrieved 2017-12-07.
  18. ^ 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
  19. ^ "Columbia Trustees". Retrieved 2016-10-17.
  20. ^ "Board of Directors - National Archives Foundation". Retrieved 2015-10-10.
  21. ^ "Radcliffe Institute Leadership". Retrieved 2016-10-17.
  22. ^ Harvard Gazette: C.J. Walker's story is told at Radcliffe Archived 2006-09-02 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ "CAA Board". Retrieved 2016-10-19.
  24. ^ a b "Trustee Bios". Columbia University. 2010. Retrieved 2011-02-03.
  25. ^ ""Black wealth, racism and the legacy of the legendary Madam C.J. Walker"". Washington Post. 2016. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  26. ^ "About Us Madam C. J. Walker Beauty Culture". Madam C. J. Walker Beauty Culture. 2016. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  27. ^ ABC News Wins duPont Gold Baton
  28. ^ Black Caucus of the American Library Association Literary Awards Winners (1994–Present) — Infoplease.com
  29. ^ Radcliffe Institute to Honor Radcliffe and Harvard Women of Achievement - Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study – Harvard University Archived June 17, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  30. ^ Recipients of Indiana University Honorary Degrees
  31. ^ "American Academy of Arts and Sciences Elects National and International Scholars, Artists, Philanthropists, and Business and Civic Leaders" (Press release). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Apr 22, 2015. Retrieved Oct 21, 2016.
  32. ^ "Author to Address Wilson Graduates" (Press release). Wilson College. May 11, 2016. Retrieved Oct 21, 2016.
  33. ^ "MacDowell Fellowships Awarded to 74 Artists in Multiple Disciplines - The MacDowell Colony". macdow.convio.net. Retrieved 2017-08-17.

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