LA County May Return Beach Property Back to Rightful Black Owners

Willa and Charles Bruce purchased beachfront property at what is known as Manhattan Beach. The family originally bought the property to use as a beach resort for Blacks in 1912.

In 1929 the Manhattan Beach City Council seized the property stating that it was eminent domain. The property was transferred to the state and then to L.A. County. It is now used as a park and as the L.A. County Lifeguard Training Centre.

The family beach was known as Bruce’s Beach before being ripped from its true owners nearly one hundred years ago. The state legislation has announced that the property will be returned to the family of Charles and Willa Bruce, the original owners.

During its heyday, Bruce’s Beach was a thriving area for Black families from 1912 until 1924. LA County may return beach property back to rightful black owners after the city wrongfully condemned the area in 1924.

In 1924 the city condemned the area. Homes built around Bruce’s Beach were also seized and condemned. Even during years of attacks and threats by whites, Black families refused to flee. LA eventually used the guise of eminent domain, stating the area needed a park. So, lives were destroyed, and Bruce’s land was stolen.

“Restitution for the loss of enterprise and punitive damages for the collusion of the institutional racism of this city that railroaded out family out of here”, says Chief Duane Shepard.