Finding Samuel Lowe: From Harlem to China


Asia Society Documentary Film Series

Evening Screening & Post-Screening Discussion
Drinks Reception 6:30pm
Screening 7:00pm
Discussion 8:30pm
Close 9:00pm


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 the U.S. by their Chinese Jamaican mother, Nell Vera Lowe who encouraged them to realize their rags-to-riches American dream. In order to fulfil a promise to their mother to connect with her estranged Chinese father's people, they embark on a journey to uncover their ancestral roots. 

As the mystery of their grandfather's life unfolds, the trio travel to Jamaica, learning that their grandfather had a life there similar to their own, starting with humble beginnings and ending with successful business ownership. 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, Finding Samuel Lowe is a story about familial love and devotion that transcends race, space and time.


Paula Williams Madison is Chairman and CEO of Madison Media Management LLC, a Los Angeles-based media consultancy company with global reach. She is the author and executive producer of Finding Samuel Lowe. In 2011, Ms. Madison retired from NBCUniversal (NBCU), where she was Executive Vice President of Diversity as well as a Vice President of General Electric Company, then parent company of NBCU. During her 22 years with NBCU, she held a number of leadership roles, including President and General Manager of NBC4 Los Angeles, Los Angeles Regional General Manager for NBCU’s Telemundo TV stations and Vice President and News Director of NBC4 New York. Her career as a journalist led to a 1996 Peabody Award for NBC4 New York’s investigation A License to Kill. Ms. Madison’s continued dedication to quality journalism helped NBC4 Los Angeles earn numerous Emmy, Golden Mike and Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards. She was named one of the “75 Most Powerful African Americans in Corporate America” by Black Enterprise Magazine in 2005 and included in the Hollywood Reporter’s “Power 100”. She was recognized in 2014 as one of the “Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business”, by the East West Players, the Visionary Award by AARP and the 2015 Chinese American Heritage and Legacy Award by Los Angeles Chinese American Museum. She is a graduate of Vassar College.

Event Details

Fri 26 May 2017
6:30 PM - 9:00 PM
Buy Tickets
$200 Asia Society members/ Vassar Alumni/ Friends of HKFCS/ Friends of IAFT; $250 Non-members
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