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A’Lelia Bundles to join Center for Africana Studies and Culture at IUPUI

For Immediate Release Feb 1, 2022

INDIANAPOLIS – Award-winning author and journalist A’Lelia Bundles has been named the inaugural Center for Africana Studies and Culture Prestigious Fellow in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI.

headshot of A'Lelia Bundles
A’Lelia Bundles.Photo by Anya Chibis

“We are excited to welcome Ms. Bundles to the Center for Africana Studies and Culture,” School of Liberal Arts Dean Tami Eitle said. “She brings not only a wealth of knowledge and experience with her but a definite passion for the center’s work of curating Black cultural experiences for the campus and the surrounding communities. This is just the beginning of great things for the Center for Africana Studies and Culture and a wonderful honor for the School of Liberal Arts.”

Bundles’ contributions will focus on her strengths, expertise and interests by engaging innovative programming and public scholarship. This will include the establishment of the Bundles Scholars, a Bundles Lecture Series and an “In Conversation with A’Lelia” discussion series.

As Bundles Scholars, two Africana Studies students will engage in scholarly research of Black issues with mentorship from Bundles and other Africana Studies faculty. The Bundles Lecture Series will focus on globally oriented Black history, culture and other under-disciplined areas. The conversation series will focus specifically on Black Indianapolis history and culture as a part of the Africana Studies Presents series, in collaboration with the Madam Walker Legacy Center.

“Ms. Bundles exemplifies the very essence of what the center seeks to develop in our students and in our community,” Center for Africana Studies and Culture director Les Etienne said. “This opportunity to learn from her experiences and connections speaks to the heart of how Black history has traditionally been shared: elders passing their wisdom and knowledge from generation to generation.”

Through her work as an author and journalist, Bundles has also conveyed the Black experience and history through her book about the iconic women in her family, “On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker,” which is a reflection on her great-great-grandmother’s life and legacy; and her upcoming work, “The Joy Goddess of Harlem: A’Lelia Walker and the Harlem Renaissance,” which focuses on her grandmother and namesake’s life.

“On Her Own Ground” was the foundation for the Netflix miniseries of the same name about Madam C.J. Walker’s life. Researching and sharing the true history of Black people in America is a passion and mission Bundles shares with the center.

“I recall as a young student reading very little about my ancestors and not seeing myself reflected in the history books,” Bundles said. “Seeking the truth about Black people in America and sharing that is vital to understanding who we were then and who we are now. And I find no greater joy than sharing the truths that I have learned with others. I am blessed with this opportunity to share with the students at IUPUI.”

Bundles spent 30 years in broadcast journalism, holding numerous positions with ABC and NBC News. She is a vice chair emerita of Columbia University’s board of trustees and chair emerita of the National Archives Foundation. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from Harvard College and a master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

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