By Brett Callwood
On June 28, Bruce’s Beach was transferred to legal heirs of Charles and Willa Bruce following a 5-vote by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on June 28.
State Senator Steven Bradford, representing the 35th District, authored Senate Bill 796 with authorized the transfer.
“I am extremely proud to have authored Senate Bill 796 that allowed the County of LA to transfer the Bruce’s Beach land back to its rightful heirs, the greatgrandsons of Charles and Willa Bruce,” said Senator Bradford in a statement. “I commend Supervisors Janice Hahn and Holly Mitchell’s leadership in standing up to address racial prejudice and having the courage to right historical wrongdoing. The County’s plan will accomplish my legislation’s objective of rectifying the historic injustice that was done to the Bruce family.”
The transfer is long overdue. It was in 1912 that young Black couple Charles and Willa Bruce purchased the beachfront property in Manhattan Beach and built a resort to serve and run by black residents. However, after constant harassment from white neighbors and the KKK, the Manhattan Beach City Council moved to seize the property in 1924 and the city took it in 1929.
“The property the Bruce family once owned was later transferred to the State and in 1995 transferred to Los Angeles County,” reads a statement. “Despite the Statewide efforts to return the property, the City of Manhattan Beach has yet to apologize for the racially-motivated misdeed that the city perpetrated in 1924, when the city utilized eminent domain which stripped the Bruces and other Black families of their property, business and generational wealth.”
“This agreement will allow the Bruce family to realize the generational wealth which they have been deprived for generations, simply for being Black in America,” said Senator Bradford. “We cannot change the past, but we owe it to the future generations to eliminate structural and systemic racism that still exist today.”