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Bruce's Beach

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Black Family Plans To Sell Bruce's Beach Property Back To L.A. County For Nearly $20M

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.

Jan 4, 2023

Los Angeles County To Pay $413K A Year To Lease Land Over 24 Months As Bruce's Beach Returns To Its Black Owners

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...

Jun 30, 2022

Gov. Gavin Newsom Returns Bruce's Beach To Descendants Of Original Black Owners, Says Move Can Be Part Of 'Broader Reparations'

In March 2021, AfroTech reported that Bruce’s Beach could be going back to the descendants of its original Black owners. On Sept. 30, Gov. Gavin Newsom of California made that a reality. According to Eyewitness News (via The Associated Press) , the beachfront property in question was purchased by Willa and Charles Bruce back in 1912. The Bruces turned the property into the first beach resort for Black families. The resort — which included a lodge, a cafe, and even a dance hall — naturally faced threats and harassment from its white neighbors. There was even an attempt to burn down the resort. Finally, in 1924, the city seized the property — citing eminent domain — and took the property from the Bruces. The campaign to return Bruce’s Beach to the Bruce family — whose descendants include Anthony Bruce, who has been very vocal about the injustice committed against his family (and rightly so) — was spearheaded by LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn. “I’m considering, first of all, giving...

L.A. County Beach Worth Around $72M Could Soon Go Back to Black Descendants of Its Original Owners

The Bruce family could soon inherit the legacy that was stripped from them! According to Because of Them We Can, Willa Bruce purchased two lots of land from a white land developer in 1912 for $1,225. While her husband, Charles Bruce, worked as a chef on dining-cars for a train that ran between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City, Willa ran a cafe, lodge, and dance hall for Black families to enjoy weekends at Manhattan Beach — the area was known as Bruce’s Beach. During the time, more Black families began to enter the area either purchasing or building homes that overlooked the sea, ultimately creating a small community. “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.” The Bruces and their neighbors weren’t even able to enjoy the fruits of their labor without...

Mar 10, 2021