On Wednesday, Los Angeles County officials gave land back to descendants. This came almost 100 years after a Black couple was racially harassed and had their California oceanfront resort taken.
Advocates, the family, and city officials worked for two years to have the Manhattan Beach Resort given back. It had belonged to the relatives of Charles and Willa Bruce who had constructed the resort in 1912.
A ceremony occurred on Wednesday on the shoreline of the upscale city Manhattan Beach. The Bruces’ great-grandson, Anthony Bruce, was provided land transfer documents.
“We have set the precedent in the pursuit of justice. Today, we are returning stolen land for the first time. But, it will not be the last,” said Janice Hahn, a member of the Board of Supervisors. The board assisted with the initiative to give the land back.
The grandsons of the Bruces’, Marcus and Derrick Bruce, stated that they will lease the beach back to the county. This will be for $400,000 a year.
In 2006, the oceanfront park in Manhattan Beach was renamed Bruce’s Beach. This was in honor of the couple who owned the property in the 1920s. The couple had transformed the resort to a location that catered to the Black community. As the result of a racist rampage by the Klu Klux Klan, the land was taken from the Bruce family.
Hahn added that Willa Bruce worked tireslessly to get the land back for her family. Their generational wealth and opportunities had been cut off when the land had been taken from them.
“We can’t change the past. And we will never be able to make up for the injustice… But this is a start,” Hahn expressed.