Bill signed California Beach’s $75 million return to the black family

In September, Senate Bill 796 was passed unanimously by the California Senate, ensuring that Los Angeles County returns land seized from a black family.

“This property was stolen from the Bruces,” said Senator Steven Bradford of California’s District 35. “We return what was stolen, what was rightfully theirs.”

In 1912, Charles and Willa Bruce purchased the beachfront property and turned it into a resort open to black guests.

“The Ku Klux Klan was involved in their harassment,” LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn revealed.

“And when that didn’t drive them away, the city government decided to take the property under the guise of eminent domain.”

It was the 1920s, and the area known as Bruce’s Beach became Manhattan Beach.

After their lands were taken, the Bruce family was prohibited from buying new land in the area.

The land originally sold to the Bruces for $1,225 is now valued at around $75 million.

“This injustice against Willa and Charles Bruce was not only against them,” Hahn said. “It was against generations of Bruce who most certainly would have been millionaires by now.”

“Well, what do you think generational wealth might have looked like for the Bruces?” Brandford Notes. “Look at the Gettys. Let’s look at the Rockefellers. Let’s look at the Fords. Let’s look at the Bushes. Let’s look at the Kennedys. This is what the generational wealth of the Bruce family could look like.”

Anthony Bruce, great-great-grandson of Charles and Willa, says it’s not just about the money. “The last time we were in Manhattan Beach, the Bruces, it was a terrible situation for us,” he said.

So far, no official apology has been issued by the Los Angeles City Council.

“And many say, ‘Well, I wasn’t there at the time. It wasn’t my responsibility,'” Brandford notes. “Well, last time I checked, Ronald Reagan wasn’t president during the Japanese internment, but he did apologize. Last time I checked the Currency Council in San Jose, which just to apologize this week to the Chinese whose entire city was decimated in 1887. , this council had the courage to apologize.”

“So why now, in 2021, doesn’t this council have the courage to apologize not just to the Bruce family but to the other six families?”

With this signing on Senate Bill 796, the beachfront property is to be returned to Bruce’s descendants.

LA County has released a proposal with options for this transfer, including a plan that allows the Bruce family to lease their land to LA County, which would require the government to pay them rent.

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