Proposed California state legislation announced on Friday, April 9, that the Black descendants of Bruce’s Beach, located in Los Angeles’ Manhattan Beach area, will possibly have the land returned to them almost 100 years after it was seized.
State Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) was set to introduce the bill on Monday, April 12 to have the oceanfront resort returned to the living descendants of the Black family it was stolen from back in 1924, Yahoo News reports.
“We stand here today to introduce a bill that will correct this gross injustice and allow the land to be returned to the Bruce family,” Bradford said Friday. “It is my hope that this legislation will not be the last in a series of actions by the state to address centuries of atrocious actions against Black Americans.”
Supporters of the bill say it will be the right step to take after the property was seized from Charles and Willa Bruce when Black beachgoers were forced out of the city 100 years ago. If passed, the property which has since become a lifeguard center will become the property of the Bruce family. However, state legislation is required to lift the restriction that the state placed on the property when it transferred Bruce’s Beach over to L.A. County in 1995.
Purchased by Willa Bruce for $1,225 in 1912, the Bruce family’s three lots of land became a beachfront getaway for Black families. However, after years of ignoring racist threats and harassment by the white community, in 1924 city officials condemned the neighborhood and seized more than two dozen properties through eminent domain.
A brief Black history thread on Bruce's Beach in Manhattan Beach, CA. pic.twitter.com/cg7RXIG9rK
— Ma$on (@FirstGentleman) February 17, 2020
The now, predominantly white neighborhood, rejected issuing out an apology on Tuesday night at a heated City Council meeting, Easy Reader News reports. Officials opted to instead issue out a “statement of acknowledgment and condemnation” of what happened.
“We reserve our rights on this Earth to be men, to be women, to be human beings, to be given the rights of human beings, to be given the respect of human beings, in this country in this day and in this society in this damn city,” Shepard said.
The family hopes to hold a family reunion when the bill is passed.