CA - Heirs of Bruce’s Beach Finalize Sale of Property Back to LA County
On Jan. 30, the heirs of Bruce’s Beach finalized the sale of the land they just reclaimed last year back to Los Angeles County for $20 million. But the news of the sale was somewhat disappointing for those who reveled in the victory of justice carried out more than 100 years and hoped the Bruce family would keep the property in the family.
The Bruce Family’s attorney George C. Fatheree III told KBLA radio personality Tavis Smiley that the family was prompted to sell because it faced a long and drawn-out process to get approval for development by the city of Manhattan and the California Coastal Commission.
“The return of the property and the ability to sell the property and take funds and invest it in a way that’s important to their lives represents an important opportunity for my clients to get a glimpse of that legacy that was theirs,” Fatheree said.
But the news of the sale was somewhat disappointing for those who reveled in the victory of justice carried out more than 100 years and hoped the Bruce family would keep the property in the family.
Antonio Moore, a Los Angeles attorney, and co-founder of the American Descendants of Slavery (ADOS) movement, says the deal reached by the heirs of Bruce’s Beach “doesn’t seem to be at fair market value.”
In his Jan. 6 podcast, which can be viewed on Youtube, Moore said he crunched the real estate numbers of surrounding property in Manhattan Beach and claims that the land is worth more than the $20 million — the price at which the heirs of the controversial property were offered for the land.
The attorney said the option to sell back the land, which was first purchased in 1912 and illegally acquired by the city, is akin to the financial loss Black Americans have experienced over the decades due to “housing discrimination.”
“In essence, we are going to give them back the property but not assess any of the generational costs,” he said. “And then we (the county of Los Angeles) are going to create all types of limitations on the way they can access and use that property.”
Moore continued by saying, “The fact that this was sold back for $20 million should have everyone in an uproar. The fact that the (California) Reparations Task Force has literally said nothing about this is abject failure in my view.”
In his 37-minute podcast, Moore said that no one really took the time to “contextualize” the agreement between the county and the Bruce family since the announcement was made. Houses and condos around Bruce’s Beach are priced at around “$3 or $4 million,” he said.
According to Realtor.com, Manhattan Beach in Los Angeles County consists of five neighborhoods. As of Jan. 22, there were 57 homes for sale, ranging from $1.2 million to $22 million.
As of July 1, 2022, 34,668 people resided in the beach town located about 30 miles southwest of Los Angeles. Of that number, 74.8% are white and 0.5% are Black, according to U.S. Census Bureau numbers.
“I am not here to attack this family,” Moore said of the Bruce family. “I am more so here to question how we got here.”
The disturbing story of Bruce’s Beach Park — the location of the first West Coast seaside resort for Black beachgoers and a residential enclave for a few African American families — has received worldwide attention.
One hundred years ago, Manhattan Beach city officials seized Charles and Willa Bruce’s beachfront property through eminent domain, citing an “urgent need” to build a city park.
The use of eminent domain was the end result of segregation, intimidation, violence and threats from the Ku Klux Klan in Manhattan Beach. The plot of land that attracted Black people from all over the country was not developed for recreational use after it was forcefully taken from the Black owners.