Sunday, December 5, 2021

LA may return $78m beachfront property to Black family

Los Angeles beachfront property

The property was taken by the county using eminent domain laws in 1924, according to KABC-TV

Los Angeles County may return beachfront property worth up to $75m to the descendants of the site’s original owners, the first Black landowners in Manhattan Beach, California.

According to KABC-TV, the property which was originally owned by Willia and Charles Bruce, was taken by the county using eminent domain laws in 1924.

When Mr and Ms Bruce owned the building, it served as a beach resort for Black families, who faced dangers during travel due to racism and discrimination.

LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn said she wanted the county to make amends, according to NBC Los Angeles.

The property that was once the Bruce’s is now owned by the County, and I want LA County to be part of righting this wrong, she said. I am looking at everything from repurposing the property in a way that tells the history of Bruce’s Beach to actually giving the property back to the descendants of Charles and Willa Bruce.

The family eventually received a small settlement for their property.

Currently, the property houses a lifeguard station.

The family’s living descendant, Anthony Bruce, condemned the city for what it did to his ancestors, and wonders how his family’s history may have been different if they had been allowed to keep the property.

It was a wrong against the Bruce family, he said. I think we would be wealthy Americans still living there in California, Manhattan Beach, probably.

Kavon Ward, a resident of the community who decries the injustice done to the Bruce family, said the decision by the county to take the land may have stripped them of generations of wealth security.

They need to pay for the stripping of generational wealth, he said. This family could have been wealthy, they could have passed on wealth to other family members. Manhattan Beach could have been more culturally diverse, there would have been more black people here.

The Los Angeles City Council is awaiting the results of a task force examining potential reparations for the Bruce family descendants.


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