There’s no question now — Los Angeles County can return Bruce’s Beach to descendants of its namesake, Charles and Willa Bruce, correcting a historic injustice to a Black family.
Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 796 on Thursday, allowing the county to move ahead with a first-of-its-kind property transfer, according to the L.A. Times.
The bill “sets the tone for the future of reparations in California,” said its author, State Senator Steven Bradford.
The Bruces bought the Manhattan Beach land about a century ago and established a beachside resort for Black families who were barred by authorities from other beaches and resorts in Southern California. The family was regularly harassed by the white community and targeted by the Ku Klux Klan. Then, in 1924, Manhattan Beach seized the property and about a dozen others in 1924, claiming it was needed for a park that wasn’t built until the 1960s.
The seizure and destruction of Charles and Willa’s businesses devastated the family for generations, according to Anthony Bruce, the couple’s great-great-grandson.
County Supervisor Janice Hahn has said the county would seek to lease the property from the Bruce family for continued use as a lifeguard station.
[LAT] — Dennis Lynch