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Finding Identity in Family History

Finding Samuel Lowe

Paula Williams Madison



Finding Samuel Lowe by Paula Williams Madison Spanning four generations and moving between New York, Jamaica, and China, this powerful memoir that is a universal story of one woman's search for her maternal grandfather and the key to her self-identity. Thanks to her spiteful, jealous Jamaican mother, Nell Vera Lowe was cut off from her Chinese father, Samuel, when she was just a baby, after he announced he was taking a Chinese bride. By the time Nell was old enough to travel to her father's shop in St. Ann's Bay, he'd taken his family back to China, never learning what became of his eldest daughter. Bereft, Nell left Jamaica for New York to start a new life. But her Asian features set her apart from her Harlem neighbors and even her own children—a difference that contributed to her feeling of loneliness and loss which she instilled in her only daughter, Paula. Years later, with a successful corporate career behind her and the arrival of her only grandchild raising questions about family and legacy, Paula decided to search for Samuel Lowe's descendants in China. With the support of her brothers and the help of encouraging strangers, Paula eventually pieced together the full story of her grandfather's life, following his story from China to Jamaica and back, and connecting with 300 surprised relatives who were overjoyed to meet her. Finding Samuel Lowe is a remarkable journey about one woman's path to self-discovery. It is a story about love and devotion that transcends time and race, and a beautiful reflection of the power of family and the interconnectedness of our world. 

About the Author

Paula Williams Madison is Chairman and CEO of Madison Media Management LLC, a Los Angeles based media consultancy company with global reach.

In 2011, Madison retired from NBCUniversal, where she had been Executive Vice President of Diversity as well as a Vice President of the General Electric Company (GE), then the parent company of NBCU. During her 22 years with NBCU, she held a number of successful 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." Madison's continued dedication to quality journalism helped NBC4 Los Angeles earn numerous Emmy, Golden Mike and Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards.

She is a highly regarded public speaker, particularly on the topics of corporate diversity, multigenerational wealth, entrepreneurship and multicultural issues.

Honored for corporate leadership and community outreach, Madison 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's been honored by Asian organizations as well, having been recognized in 2014 as one of the Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business, by the East West Players and AARP with their Visionary Award, and the Los Angeles Chinese American Museum with its 2015 Chinese American Heritage and Legacy Award.

A former marathoner, Madison also received the "Citizen of the Year Award" from the City of Los Angeles Marathon in 2004 and the AntiDefamation League's "2003 Deborah Award." And in 2013, Ebony Magazine named her to its second "Power 100" list.

Madison is a Board Member of the Los Angeles Chinese American Museum, the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, the Center for Asian American Media, Cardinal Spellman High School, the Greater Los Angeles United Way, the California Science Center Foundation, Chair of The Nell Williams Family Foundation as well as a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Paula Williams Madison

A documentary version of Finding Samuel Lowe is also available. Preview at

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