It’s lit! According to KTLA, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 on a motion today to return ownership of Bruce’s Beach to the descendants of Willa and Charles Bruce. If you’re unfamiliar, the Bruces built a resort for African Americans but were stripped of the land in the 1920s. The couple suffered racist harassment from white neighbors, and the Manhattan Beach City Council took the land through eminent domain.
After it was stripped from the couple and given to the city, they did nothing with the property. It was later transferred to the state of California in 1948. As we previously reported in October, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill that returned the property to the couple’s descendants. Bill 796 passed unanimously in October in the state Legislature, including an urgency clause allowing Los Angeles County, which currently owns the property, to transfer the land immediately.
Reports also show the transfer includes an agreement for the property to be leased back to the county for 24 months with an annual rent of $413,000. As well as all operation and maintenance costs and the county’s right to purchase the land for up to $20 million. Last month, the county completed the process of confirming that Marcus and Derrick Bruce, great-grandsons of Willa and Charles Bruce, are the legal heirs.
Supervisor Janice Hahn, who launched the complex process of returning the property to descendants in April 2021, spoke before the vote. “We can’t change the past, and we will never be able to make up for the injustice that was done to Willa and Charles Bruce a century ago, but this is a start,” she said.
Very emotional, she said returning the property will allow the heirs “the opportunity to start rebuilding the generational wealth that was denied them for decades.” Congrats to the Bruce family!