LA County Officially Returns Deed of Bruce’s Beach to Descendants of Original Black Owners


LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles County officials have officially presented the deed to part of the Manhattan Beach property to the descendants of a black family from whom the land was confiscated nearly a century ago .

“It’s an honor for me to be here and present a certified true copy to the family,” Los Angeles County Clerk and Clerk Dean Logan said at Wednesday’s ceremony.

Eyewitness News was present at the time, Logan delivered the official record to the descendants of the Bruce family.

READ ALSO | Manhattan Beach faces a racist past symbolized by the battle of “Bruce’s Beach”

“Thank you very much,” said Anthony Bruce, a great-great-grandson of Willa and Charles Bruce, was among the family members present for Wednesday’s ceremony. “If it weren’t for God, we wouldn’t be here today. And last but not least, thank you all. God bless you.”

Willa and Charles Bruce bought the land in 1912 and built a hotel complex for black residents.

The Bruces, however, became a target and were harassed by their white neighbors and the Klu Klux Klan.

“My family has declared this to be sacred ground, and I was going to do everything I could to get it back,” Chief Duane “Yellowfeather” Shepard, a fellow Bruce family member, said at the ceremony. Wednesday.
Eventually, the City of Manhattan Beach seized the property in 1924 using eminent domain and claimed it was to build a park.

Supervisor Janice Hahn began the process of returning the property to the Bruce family two years ago.

“Today we send a message to all governments in this country facing this same challenge. This work is no longer unprecedented,” she said.

The section of the property closest to the beach, including the lots owned by the Bruce family, was state-owned and required new legislation, Senate Bill 796, sponsored by the senator of State of California Steven Bradford, to transfer him to the family.

“SB 796 and this land transfer will not reverse an injustice that took place almost 100 years ago, but it represents an old step in the right direction,” he said Wednesday.

Under the agreement, the county will lease a lifeguard station that currently sits on Bruce family property for approximately $400,000 per year.

The deal also includes a provision that would allow the Bruces to later sell the property to the county for $20 million.

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