- Nat'l Archives Foundation Board Chair
- New York Times Author
- Former ABC News Executive
Author and journalist A’Lelia Bundles is chairman of the board of the National Archives Foundation and a vice chair of Columbia University’s board of trustees. Her critically-acclaimed, best-selling biography, On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker was named a New York Times Notable Book.
Ms. Bundles enjoyed a 30-year career as an Emmy-award wining producer with NBC News, then as a producer and executive with ABC News, where she was Washington, DC deputy bureau chief.
An engaging public speaker and skilled MC, she brings warmth, intelligence, humor and a strong grasp of current events and history to her presentations about women entrepreneurs, philanthropy, media, journalism, politics, race, social issues and the stories of her pioneering great-great-grandmother, Madam Walker, America’s first self-made millionaire businesswoman.
In these challenging times, she employs her family’s long history in America—from ancestors who served in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War as free men of color to early twentieth century entrepreneurs, activists and philanthropists—to weave a more complete and inclusive narrative of the American social, political and cultural landscape. Through her professional experience at three Fortune 100 corporations and through her volunteer work at the National Archives, Harvard, Radcliffe and Columbia, she has developed a unique lens on American society.
She is at work on her fourth book, The Joy Goddess of Harlem: A’Lelia Walker and the Harlem Renaissance, a biography of her great-grandmother, whose parties and arts patronage helped define the Harlem Renaissance.
Ms. Bundles has appeared as a keynote speaker or master of ceremonies at conferences, libraries and educational institutions including Harvard University, the National Archives, London City Hall, 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,” the Biography Channel and in other documentaries and national programs. Her articles have been published in the New York Times Book Review, O (The Oprah Magazine), Parade, TheRoot.com, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Essence, Fortune Small Business, Black Issues Book Review, the Radcliffe Quarterly, several other magazines and on her websites.
In addition to her work as a Columbia trustee, she is co-chair of the Columbia Alumni Association, a member of the Radcliffe Institute’s Schlesinger Library Advisory Council at Harvard, the Woodlawn Conservancy of Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx and the March on Washington Film Festival.
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 will be inducted as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in October 2015.