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Nearly 100 years later, Bruce’s Beach is returned to its Black descendants

MANHATTAN BEACH – On September 30, Governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation that returned Bruce’s Beach to the descendants of Willa and Charles Bruce, who the Manhattan Beach property was wrongfully stolen from through eminent domain in 1924.

The bill, SB 796 by State Senator Steven Bradford, was unanimously approved by state lawmakers and signed by Governor Newsom with Bruce family members in attendance, along with legislators and local leaders.

“As we move to remedy this nearly century-old injustice, California takes another step furthering our commitment to making the California Dream a reality for communities that were shamefully shut out by a history of racist exclusion,” said Governor Newsom.

Black entrepreneurs Willa and Charles Bruce purchased the beachside property in 1912, and it grew to become a thriving resort, popular among Black, local residents and visitors. The Bruce family endured years of racist, violent attacks from white supremacists in the area. Eventually, in 1924, Manhattan Beach city officials seized the property from the Bruce family, claiming eminent domain.

Now, in 2021, the signing of SB 796 authorizes Los Angeles County to begin the process of transferring parcels of the Manhattan Beach property back to the Bruce family. The Bruce family will now have the option to lease the land back to LA County, who would then pay rent.

“SB 796 shows us that it is never too late to address the injustices of the past. If you can inherit generational wealth in this country, then you can inherit generational debt too. The City of Manhattan Beach, County of Los Angeles, and the State of California owe a debt to the Bruce family,” said Senator Bradford.

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