Finding Samuel Lowe

Finding Samuel Lowe premieres nationally on May 14, 2017 World Channel’s Doc World! Check local listings. Finding Samuel Lowe will stream online for free from May 15-June 13, 2017.

ABOUT

Three successful black siblings from Harlem discover their heritage by searching for clues about their long-lost Chinese grandfather, Samuel Lowe.

Retired NBC Universal executive Paula Williams Madison and her brothers, Elrick and Howard Williams, were raised in Harlem by their Chinese Jamaican mother, Nell Vera Lowe. Nell encouraged them to realize the rags-to-riches American dream, resulting in their growth from welfare recipients to wealthy entrepreneurs. In order to fulfill a promise to their mother to connect to her estranged father’s people, they embark on a journey to uncover their ancestral roots.

The three travel to the Toronto Hakka Chinese Conference where they connect to members of the Chinese Jamaican community. As the mystery of their grandfather’s life unfolds, the trio travels to Jamaica, learning that their grandfather had a life there similar to their own, starting with humble beginnings in Mocho, Clarendon Parish, and ending with successful business ownership in the affluent St. Ann’s Bay. But in 1933, he left Jamaica, returning to China for good.

Taking family tree research to an epic proportion, the siblings and 16 of their family members travel to two Chinese cities, ShenZhen and GuangZhou. Together, they visit their family’s ancestral village, finding documented lineage that dates their family back 3,000 years to 1006 BC. The trip culminates in an emotional and unforgettable family reunion with 300 of their grandfather’s Chinese descendants.

At its heart, this is a story about familial love and devotion that transcends race, space and time.

TRAILER

FILMMAKERS

JEANETTE KONG Director
PAULA WILLIAMS MADISON Executive Producer
JEANETTE KONG Producer
MARTIN PROCTOR Assistant Producer
TRANSITION MUSIC Music
JANE MACRAE Editor
AIDA YOHANNES Visual Research and Rights Clearance Supervisor
GAVENESH PATEL Graphic Animation Designer
JUAN WOODBURY Visual Effects and Art Direction Producer
MARTIN PROCTOR Director of Photography

PHOTOS

Paula Madison and her Chinese cousin Kim Yuet Lau.

Paula Madison and her Chinese cousin Kim Yuet Lau

Minjun Luo and Paula Williams Madison, first cousins and grandchildren of Samuel Lowe.

Minjun Luo and Paula Williams Madison, first cousins and grandchildren of Samuel Lowe.

China c. 1929 -- A Lowe Family portrait taken with Samuel Lowe (Lowe Ding Chow), sons Chow Woo, Chow Kong and Chow Ying, and his wife, Ho Swee Yin.

China c. 1929 — A Lowe Family portrait taken with Samuel Lowe (Lowe Ding Chow), sons Chow Woo, Chow Kong and Chow Ying, and his wife, Ho Swee Yin.

Columbus Circle, NYC, c. 1966 -- Nell, Elrick and Paula Madison the Summer after his freshman year at college and as Madison was entering high school. Rare trip to Midtown Manhattan with her mother who mostly stayed in their apartment or on their tenement's stoop.

Columbus Circle, NYC, c. 1966 — Nell, Elrick and Paula Madison the Summer after his freshman year at college and as Madison was entering high school. Rare trip to Midtown Manhattan with her mother who mostly stayed in their apartment or on their tenement’s stoop.

145th Street in Harlem -- Cousin George Barnes, Paula Madison's dad's first cousin, who sometimes rented a room in their small apartment. He was the only relative she consistently saw and he protected and loved us. Madion's Mom, right, holding the handkerchief. She likely made her beautiful dress.

145th Street in Harlem — Cousin George Barnes, Paula Madison’s dad’s first cousin, who sometimes rented a room in their small apartment. He was the only relative she consistently saw. Madison’s Mom, right, holding the handkerchief. She likely made her beautiful dress.

 

Additional photos available upon request.

READ MORE

Tracing a Family Tree, from Harlem to China” (AARP)

Finding Samuel Lowe” (PRI)

Family Secrets” (Essence)

CONTACT

Please contact momo[at]caamedia.org with any questions.

 

This program is presented by the Center for Asian American Media, with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

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