Author • Journalist • Nonprofit Board Chair • Madam Walker descendant. Blends current events, entrepreneurship & history into entertaining, informative mix.
Author and journalist A’Lelia Bundles currently is at work on her third book, Joy Goddess of Harlem: The Life and Times of A’Lelia Walker, a biography of her great-grandmother, to be published by Simon and Schuster. She also serves as president and chair of the Foundation for the National Archives, the private partner which provides funds and support for the exhibitions, programs and educational materials of the National Archives.
As president of the Madam Walker/A’Lelia Walker Family Archives, she shares the history of her famous ancestors through speeches, publications, memorabilia, documents and several public initiatives. Her critically-acclaimed, best-selling biography, On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker [Scribner/2001], was named a 2001 New York Times Notable Book, a 2002 Borders Books-Hurston/Wright Legacy Award finalist, the 2001 Letitia Woods Brown Book Prize winner by the Association of Black Women Historians for the best book on black women’s history and a 2002 Honor Book by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. The first truly comprehensive account of Ms. Bundles’s great-great-grandmother’s life, this nonfiction book is based on nearly three decades of her meticulous research in the libraries, historical societies, courthouses and private homes of more than a dozen U. S. cities. Her young adult biography, Madam C. J. Walker: Entrepreneur [Chelsea House 1991/revised 2008] received an American Book Award.
Ms. Bundles enjoyed a 30-year career as an executive and producer in network television news. From 2000 to 2006 she was director of talent development for ABC News in Washington, D.C. and New York. She was deputy bureau chief of ABC News in Washington from 1996 to 1999, after twenty years as a network television producer with ABC and NBC News. From 1989 until 1996 she was a producer with ABC’s “World News Tonight with Peter Jennings.” While at NBC News from 1976 to 1989 in New York, Washington, Atlanta and Houston, her assignments for “Nightly News,” “Today” and several primetime specials and magazine broadcasts included Jesse Jackson’s 1984 presidential campaign, the 1984 Democratic Convention, the Atlanta youth murders and several hurricanes.
Ms. Bundles’s speeches about Madam Walker, entrepreneurship, philanthropy, the politics of hair, media and journalism have been well-received across the country by audiences at conferences, libraries and educational institutions including Harvard University, the National Archives, the Israeli Presidential Conference, the Center on Philanthropy at IUPUI, Spelman College, Renaissance Weekend, the U. S. Postal Service, Princeton University, the Smithsonian Institution, the Library of Congress and several book festivals.
She has appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” NBC’s “Today,” CBS’s “Sunday Morning,” NPR’s “Morning Edition” and “Fresh Air,” C-Span Book TV’s “Public Lives,” WNET/13’s “A Walk Through Harlem” and other national programs. Her articles have been published in the New York Times Book Review, O (The Oprah Magazine), Parade, Essence, Fortune Small Business, Black Issues Book Review, the Radcliffe Quarterly, several other magazines and on her website at madamcjwalker.com.
She is a vice chair of the Columbia University Board of Trustees and chair of its public affairs committee. She is co-chair of the Columbia Alumni Association 2017 Strategic Planning Committee and a member of the CAA board. She also is a member of the Radcliffe Institute’s Schlesinger Library Council and the Woodlawn Conservancy of Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx. She is a board member emerita of the Madam Walker Theatre Center of Indianapolis.
She has served as president of the Radcliffe College Alumnae Association, a Radcliffe College trustee, a Radcliffe Quarterly advisory board member, a member of the Board of Governors of the Indiana University Center on Philanthropy, a Harvard Alumni Association director, a member of the Harvard Alumni Association Nominating Committee for Overseers and Directors, a member of the Dean’s Council of the Radcliffe Institute for Advance Study at Harvard, a Harvard Club of Washington director, a National Women’s Hall of Fame board member, co-chair of the National Association of Black Journalists Authors Showcase, chair of the Association of Black Women Historians Letitia Wood Brown Book and Article Prize Committee and a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards juror. She has been a visiting faculty member at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies and the Hurston/Wright Foundation’s Writers Week.
Among Ms. Bundles’s journalism awards are a du Pont Gold Baton and an Emmy. She has been inducted into the Black Memorabilia Hall of Fame and the North Central High School Hall of Fame in Indianapolis. She is a recipient of a 2002 Harvard Alumni Association Award for outstanding service through alumni activities, a 2004 Radcliffe Distinguished Service Award and a 2007 Columbia University Alumni Medalist.
In 2003, she created the 100 Books, 100 Women campaign to expand the library at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women in New York. As well, she spearheaded the national campaign that led to the 1998 U. S. Postal Service’s Black Heritage stamp of Madam Walker.
Ms. Bundles graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College and Radcliffe College, received a masters degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and an honorary doctorate from Indiana University. She is a member of the Alpha Iota Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa at Harvard College. She lives in Washington, DC. February 2013.
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