SAMMY DAVIS, JR: Film & Discussion

Join the Black History Study Group at the Gem Theater to explore the legendary life of Sammy Davis, Jr.!

On Monday, October 14 at 6:00 p.m., the National Archives will kick-off the 2019-2020 film series with the Greater Kansas City Black History Study Group, American Jazz Museum, and Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Center, with a screening of Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me. This program will take place at the Gem Theater, 1615 East 18th Street, Kansas City, MO. RSVPs are required for this free event.

Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me is the first major film documentary to examine the performer’s vast career and his journey for identity through the shifting tides of civil rights and racial progress during 20th-century America. Sammy Davis, Jr., had the kind of career that was indisputably legendary, vast in scope and scale. And yet, his life was complex, complicated and contradictory. Davis strove to achieve the American Dream in a time of racial prejudice and shifting political territory. He was a veteran of increasingly outdated show business traditions and worked tirelessly to stay relevant, even as he frequently found himself bracketed by the bigotry of white America and the distaste of black America.

Davis was the most public black figure to embrace Judaism, thereby yoking his identity to that of another persecuted minority. In Duke Ellington’s words, he was “beyond category.” Featuring exclusive interviews with Billy Crystal, Norman Lear, Jerry Lewis, Whoopi Goldberg and Kim Novak, with never-before-seen photographs from Davis’ vast personal collection and rare footage from his performances in television, film and concert, this film explores the life and art of a uniquely-gifted entertainer whose trajectory paralleled the major flashpoints of American society, from the Depression through the 1980s.





American Jazz Museum


Gem Theater
1615 East 18th Street
Kansas City, MO 64108
United States