We wrote about Bruce’s Beach, located in Manhattan Beach, California on August 5, 2021 and October 7, 2021, an old case which has sparked national “condemnation” was the 1924 taking of “Bruce’s Beach.” The resort was established by Willa and Charles Bruce in 1912. It was a destination where black tourists could swim, dance, eat and rest.
The City claimed that it needed the property for a public park, but left it undeveloped. The condemnation was clearly motivated by racism.
Manhattan Beach has been grappling with the history of Bruce’s Beach for years.
In the latter blog, we wrote: Manhattan Beach has been grappling with the history of Bruce’s Beach for years. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to begin the process of transferring the property to the descendants of Charles and Willa Bruce. Returning Bruce’s Beach to the family that first developed the land is part of California’s broader push toward reckoning with its checkered past.
On October 4, 2021 California’s Governor Newsom signed a bill that confirms the land belongs to the descendants of Willa and Charles Bruce.
At the bill signing, Governor Newsom said, “I want to apologize to the Bruce family for the injury that was done to them. We haven’t always had a proud past.”
The land was purchased by the Bruce family in 1912, and became home to a lodge, café, dance hall and place to rent swimsuits for a trip to the beach. However, systemic racism led to the family downfall.
The Bruces suffered racist harassment from white neighbors, and in the 1920s the Manhattan Beach City Council condemned the property and took it through eminent domain. The city did nothing with the property and it was transferred to the state of California and then to Los Angeles County.
The land was conveyed back to the descendants of Willa and Charles Bruce.
Now comes the news that the Bruces will be selling the property back to the County for nearly $20 million.
Janice Hahn, Chair of the County Board of Supervisors, said, “This fight has always been about what is best for the Bruce family, and they feel what is best for them is selling this property back to the County for nearly $20 million and finally rebuilding the generational wealth they were denied for nearly a century.”
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