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realclearworld

Cubans where you least expected them: Sammy ‘Caramelo Man’ Davis Jr.

No doubt many of us Cuban Americans will be surprised to find out that although he did not want to admit it, Sammy Davis Jr. was one of us.

Via Madame Noire:

Sammy Davis, Jr.

http://cdn.madamenoire.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Sammy.jpg

Sha boing boing boing. *In a Tommy Davidson voice*

Sammy Davis, Jr. was many things. As he liked to put it, “I’m a one-eyed Negro Jew.” Another thing that Davis was, is Cuban. He was born to a black father, Sammy Davis, Sr. and a Cuban-American mother, entertainer Elvera Sanchez. However, Davis spent many of his years in show business denying that he was and saying he was Puerto Rican instead. He did this, as he said in his autobiography, because he didn’t want to have to deal with a backlash for being Cuban during a time when anti-Cuban sentiments were high and could affect his career.

3 comments to Cubans where you least expected them: Sammy ‘Caramelo Man’ Davis Jr.

  • Carlos Eire

    Now everyone will understand why he hugged President Nixon so tightly!

  • Honey

    This surprises me because when Davis wrote Yes, I Can, he included a scene where a white woman accosted him for marrying a white woman and putting his children through such a terrible burden. He answered that if she didn't make the fuss about it, his children would not be going through any burden. He stood up for black people and suffered and helped make headway for them before it was popular to do that. He didn't seem to me like someone afraid to face up to truth.
    I don't remember the part of his autobiography where he denied his mother's background.

  • asombra

    That's OK. Sammy can stay Puerto Rican (I only wish certain Cubanoids would do likewise). As for being a Jew, he may have taken up Judaism, but that didn't make him a Jew, which he never was. He had lots of issues, to which he may have been entitled, but I always found him vaguely embarrassing. Thanks, but no, thanks. And Honey, Davis didn't admit his mother was Cuban in his autobiography. That comes from a biography published in 2003, years after he died ("In Black and White," by Wil Haygood).