Joseph Low

As the bachelor society aged without family support, their plight posed new housing and services challenges for the community. Many men traditionally lodged in rooms at the benevolent associations under spartan conditions. Thanks to PCDC, some senior citizens no longer depend on boarding houses for living quarters but have found residence in On Lok House, subsidized rental apartments for the elderly.

Joseph Low came to Philadelphia in 1949, the first of his family to immigrate to the United States. Working as a waiter, he owned a home and lived in Chinatown for over 40 years. He also served as President of the Chinese Benevolent Association for many years.

Joe's advice to young parents:

Encourage your children to speak Chinese because when they grow up they regret that they do not and they blame their parents for this. Families who come to America with young children from 6-14 years of age have something special in their favor. The children naturally know the Chinese language and they learn to speak English fluently within one to two years. They are bilingual. Children of similar ages from second and third generation families know little more than a few words of Chinese. It is smart for children to know their mother language. It is good for China and good for the United States. Frequently, important jobs are obtained by young adults who are bilingual.

Low Family Christmas Portrait
Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies

Joe Lowe Outside the Chinese Benevolent Association
Chairman of CBA. 1984.
Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies

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