West Coast
Derrick Bruce, the great-grandson of the original Bruce Beach owners (second from left) and his sons Anthony (right) and Michael (left) will take ownership of the Manhattan Beach property is Governor Gavin Newsom signs the legislation

CA - California lawmakers return property to descendants of black resort owners

California lawmakers vote to return Manhattan Beach property worth $72M to descendants of black family who owned resort a century ago until they were forced out by white neighbors and the KKK

  • California lawmakers unanimously voted to return $72 million worth of land back to descendants of former resort owners
  • The resort known as 'Bruce's Beach' was owned by Willa and Charles Bruce after they purchased it in 1912
  • Manhattan Beach seized the property from the Bruce's in 1924 with the intent of making it a park
  • The family opened the resort during an era of racial segregation
  • Bruce's Beach offered black families the opportunity to have a vacation without worries of racial tensions
  • The property was formally condemned in April with the intent on returning it to the family of the rightful owners
  • Should the law be signed in, Anthony Bruce and Michael Bruce, the great-great grandchildren of the original resort owners, and their father Derrick Bruce

California lawmakers unanimously voted to return land worth about $72 million on Los Angeles's Manhattan Beach on Thursday to the descendants of wealthy black resort owners who were stripped of their property due to 'racist policies.'

Resort owners Willa and Charles Bruce purchased 'Bruce's Beach' in 1912 and built the first West Coast resort for black people during an era of segregation.

It will take the state law that legislators sent to Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday to transfer the property to the couple's descendants. The transfer would also have to be approved by county supervisors.  

Should the law be signed in, Anthony Bruce and Michael Bruce, the great-great grandchildren of the original resort owners, and their father Derrick Bruce stand to inherit the land that was taken from their family nearly 100 years ago.

'When I was growing up, my father took us to Bruce’s beach,' Anthony said in an April interview with BNC News.

'It wasn’t called that back then, it was called another name and he said "all this land is yours. I want you to know that this is your inheritance and you’re going to have to fight for it. As it stands its not ours, but as it is its our legacy."'

Senate bill 796 will 'finally do the right thing, to undo a wrong committed by the city of Manhattan Beach and aided by the state and the county," Democratic Sen. Steven Bradford said.  

It 'represents economic and historic justice and is a model of what reparations can truly look like.'

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