After fighting to reclaim their family’s land, the descendants of Willa and Charles Bruce plan to sell it back to Los Angeles County.
According to CNN, county officials shared that the sale price of Bruce’s Beach sits at almost $20 million. However, there is no set date for when the purchase will be complete.
“The seizure of Bruce’s Beach nearly a century ago was an injustice inflicted upon not just Willa and Charles Bruce but generations of their descendants who almost certainly would have been millionaires,” Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Janice Hahn in a statement, according to the outlet.
What Is Bruce's Beach?
The story of returning the historic property back to its original owners has been followed closely by AfroTech.
In a previous report, we shared that Willa Bruce initially purchased two lots of land from a white land developer in 1912 for $1,225.
Her husband, Charles Bruce, worked as a chef on dining cars for a train that operated between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City, but Willa kept busy by running a cafe, lodge, and dance hall — specifically for Black families to enjoy their weekends at Manhattan Beach. The area was called Bruce’s Beach.
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“They were pioneers,” said historian and author of the book “Living the California Dream: African American Leisure Sites during the Jim Crow Era,” Alison Rose Jefferson in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “They did what every other Californian was doing during that time.”
Losing The Land
By 1924, the city of Los Angeles further spewed racist attacks on the land owners by ultimately seizing more than two dozen properties through the use of eminent domain.
One of those properties was Bruce’s Beach.
Returning The Land
In 2021, after 98 years, the official deed for the property was returned back to the Bruce family. In a tweet, Hahn expressed why the move was so monumental.
“This is what reparations look like and it is a model that I hope governments across the country will follow,” she tweeted.
This is what reparations look like and it is a model that I hope governments across the country will follow.
— Janice Hahn (@SupJaniceHahn) January 3, 2023
Now, the land, which has been transformed into a park equipped with a lawn and lifeguard training facility, is set to make its way back to Los Angeles County.