LA County Votes To Return Beachfront Property To Black Family

By BIN Staff

June 29, 2022

Photo: Getty Images

Nearly a century after a prime stretch of beachfront real estate was taken from its Black owners, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to give the land back, the New York Times reports.

On Tuesday (June 28), Bruce's Beach was returned to the descendants of its original owners, Charles and Willa Bruce, marking one of the biggest cases of land reparations in U.S. history.

In 1912, the Bruce family purchased the beachfront real estate, what is now known as Manhattan Beach, to use the property as a resort for Black people traveling through the area. Shortly after their purchase, the Ku Klux Klan began to harass Willa and Charles Bruce.

While the resort thrived amidst the racist attacks, in 1924, the Bruce family was forced off of their property by the city because of eminent domain legislation. The property —now estimated to be worth $20 million — was transferred to Los Angeles County in 1995.

In a statement on Tuesday's vote, County Chair Holly Mitchell said that the Bruce family were "robbed of their property and generational wealth due to unjust laws and practices rooted in systemic racism." Adding, "We are not returning this land; we are giving it back to its rightful owners."

In October, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill that enabled the city to return Bruce's Beach to its descendants.

“The land in the City of Manhattan Beach, which was wrongfully taken from Willa and Charles Bruce, should be returned to their living descendants,” the bill states, according to the Los Angeles Times. "It is in the public interest of the State of California, the County of Los Angeles, the City of Manhattan Beach, and the People of the State of California to do so."

According to Tuesday's vote, county officials will rent the property from the Bruce family under a 24-month lease agreement, totaling $413,000 per year.

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