From Harlem to China: Author Traces Family Tree

Mystery of grandfather’s life revealed in “Finding Samuel Lowe”

— -- Retired journalist and NBC Universal executive Paula Williams Madison had spent her whole life longing for her extended family. As a child she grew up asking her half Chinese, half Jamaican mother questions about their family’s mysterious past.

“I used to talk to my grandfather,” Madison said. “What I would hear was keep looking for me. You’ll find me.”

“I said ‘Oh my god you are the only Chinese Jamaican I have ever met. And you have the same last name as my mother,” Madison recalled.

Dr. Lowe had not heard of Madison’s mother but agreed to email his family. He received a reply the following day and shared it with Madison. “My uncle says Samuel Lowe was his father.”

After a lifetime of longing for her family Madison had no idea the lineage would date back over 3000 years. In 2012, Madison along with 19 Black Chinese family members flew to China where they were greeted by over 300 of Samuel Lowe’s descendants.

During the trip a visit to her grandfather’s grave left Madison in tears. “What hit me was that I am physically in the presence for the first time in my life of the remains of my grandfather and it just hit me hard.”