Elvera Sanchez Davis
(September 1, 1905September 2, 2000) was an American
dancer and the mother of Sammy Davis, Jr.
Sammy Davis, Jr. often stated that his mother was Puerto Rican
and born in San Juan
, 2003-10-23 However, the 2003 biography In Black and White
states that he made these statements due to the political sensitivities of the 1960s and his mother was instead born in New York of Cuban ancestry. The book states that Elvera was in fact born in New York, the daughter of Cuban Americans
Marco Sanchez, a cigar salesman, and Luisa Aguiar (1884-1996), information which was obtained from the daughter and granddaughter of Elvera's sister Julia and from contemporary documentation.
Elvera Sanchez began her career as a chorus-line dancer at the Lafayette Theater in Harlem
. She married Sammy Davis, Sr.
, also a dancer, in 1923. In 1925 their son and only child Sammy Davis, Jr., was born. When the child was three, the couple split up and the father obtained sole custody of his son taking him on the road. Elvera Sanchez was a chorus-line dancer at Apollo Theater
for six years. She continued to dance until the 1940s.
From 1989 until her death, she was an adviser to the New York Committee to Celebrate National Tap Dance
Day. Her own mother, Luisa Sanchez, died in 1996 at the age of 112. She was survived by her daughter Ramona.