After a years-long fight for justice, the descendants of a Black-owned beach located in California will now regain their family’s land decades after it was wrongfully stripped away from them.
According to CNN, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors made the decision in a unanimous vote on Tuesday (June 28).
The property, known as Bruce’s Beach, was purchased by Charles and Willa Bruce for $1,225 in 1912. It was a safe space for Black families to enjoy the California sunshine and on it, the Bruces built several facilities including a cafe and changing rooms.
During that time period, much like it still is today, white people began to shake in their boots — simply from seeing Black people enjoy the qualities of life.
As previously reported by AfroTech, the property was stripped from the Bruce family in 1924 after the city claimed eminent domain, paying the couple only a fraction of what they asked for. That, coupled, with harassment from white neighbors and the Klu Klux Klan took the property away from the family for what most thought would be forever … until now.
Reclaiming the Land
Today, Bruce’s Beach is worth an estimated $20 million, and houses that sit alongside the property are worth roughly $7 million.
It was transferred to Los Angeles County in 1995.
In 2021, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into effect, drafted by Sen. Steve Bradford, that returned the land back to its original descendants.
“This is what reparations look like,” said Bradford. “The land was recreated into a park after it was stripped from its owners. The vote is a result of a proposal created by Holly Mitchell, chair of the county board of supervisors, that called for the return of the land to its rightful owners. She called the final decision “a historic moment for our country.”
A Step Toward Justice
Plans to release the beachfront property back to the descendants of the Bruce family were also shared in the vote. County officials are now to rent the land from the family under a 24-month lease in which it will pay $413,000 a year.
“All the terror that is still in our hearts regarding these criminal acts that were perpetrated against innocent people of our family, it’s important for people to understand, more so than the money that was lost,” said family spokesperson Duane Yellow Feather Shepard. “We lost our family to this. This is one step toward justice.”