Thursday, August 18, 2022
CLOSE
 
County Presents Bruce’s Beach Deed to Heirs of Property Taken From Black Couple
By Associated Press
Published July 21, 2022

Anthony Bruce, second from right, a great-great grandson of Charles and Willa Bruce, holds up the title deed of the oceanfront property known as Bruce’s Beach during a dedication ceremony in Manhattan Beach, Calif., Wednesday, July 20, 2022, as he is joined by wife, Sandra, from right, Los Angeles County officials, Holly J. Mitchell, Janice Hahn and Dean Logan. Los Angeles County officials on Wednesday presented the deed to prime California oceanfront property to heirs of the Black couple who built a beach resort for African Americans but were harassed and finally stripped of the land nearly a century ago. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Los Angeles County officials on July 20 presented the deed to prime California oceanfront property to the heirs of a Black couple who built a beach resort for African Americans but were harassed and finally stripped of the land nearly a century ago.

The event marked the final step in a complex effort to address the long-ago wrong suffered by Charles and Willa Bruce, entrepreneurs whose resort on the shore of the now-upscale city of Manhattan Beach was known as Bruce’s Beach.

Against the backdrop of waves washing onto the sunny Manhattan Beach shoreline, county Registrar-Recorder Dean Logan handed a certified copy of the land transfer to Anthony Bruce, a great-great-grandson of the Bruces.

ADVERTISEMENT

State Sen. Steven Bradford, who authored a state bill that was necessary to enable the county to transfer the land to the heirs, said it will not reverse the injustice.

“But it represents a bold step in the right direction,” he said. “It represents a template for other states to follow.”

Anthony Bruce, from left, a great-great grandson of Charles and Willa Bruce, wife, Sandra, Kavon Ward, founder of Justice for Bruce’s Beach, Derrick Bruce, great grandson of Charles and Willa Bruce, Chief Duane Yellow Feather Shepard and Mitch Ward attend a dedication ceremony in Manhattan Beach, Calif., Wednesday, July 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The land was purchased by the Bruces in 1912. They suffered racist harassment from white neighbors, and in the 1920s, the Manhattan Beach City Council condemned the property and took the land through eminent domain. The city, however, did nothing with the property, and it was transferred to the state of California in 1948.

In 1995, the state transferred it to Los Angeles County, with restrictions against further transfers. The county built its lifeguard training headquarters on the property, which also includes a small parking lot.

Janice Hahn, a member of the county Board of Supervisors, learned about the property’s history and launched the complex process of returning the property to the heirs of the Bruces after consulting county attorneys.

“They told me nothing like this had ever been done before,” she told the gathering, adding that such a move is now no longer unprecedented.

In addition to the state legislation, the transfer required votes by the board as well as a process of identifying who should get the land.

ADVERTISEMENT

The county ultimately determined that Marcus and Derrick Bruce, the great-grandsons of Charles and Willa Bruce, are their legal heirs.

The great-grandsons formed a company to hold the property, and LA County announced an agreement for the property to be leased back to the county for 24 months, with an annual rent of $413,000 plus all operation and maintenance costs, and the county’s right to purchase the land for up to $20 million.

Anthony Bruce, a great-great grandson of Charles and Willa Bruce, poses for photos with a plaque after a dedication ceremony in Manhattan Beach, Calif., Wednesday, July 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

 

Related Stories:

L.A. County Returns of Bruce’s Beach to the Rightful Heirs of Charles and Willa Bruce

https://lasentinel.net/los-angeles-county-board-of-supervisors-clears-the-way-for-transfer-of-bruces-beach.html

https://lasentinel.net/bruces-beach-property-returned-to-family.html

https://lasentinel.net/bruces-beach-update-supervisor-hahn-takes-first-steps-in-returning-beach-front-land-to-descendants-of-original-owners.html

Categories: Local | News
Tags: | | | | | | | |

Get the Los Angeles Sentinel App!



Since 1933 The Voice of Our Community Speaking for Itself.
89 Years of LA Sentinel.
Black News.
SEARCH:    

Daily Brief

LA Sentinel
in your pocket:





TOS-Cookbook-Web

LA Watts Times

 
© 2022 Los Angeles Sentinel All Rights Reserved • A Bakewell Media Publication

AboutArchivesContact UsCorrections & MisprintsMedia Kit

Terms of ServicePrivacy Policy

LA Watts TimesTaste of Soul

Close / I'm already on the list

Subscribe Today!

Don't be limited anymore! Subscribe Now »

** Existing subscribers, please Login / Register for Digital »

Subscribe to The Los Angeles Sentinel for only $5.99 $3.99 per month, with 1 month free!

Relax in comfort each week as you read the printed newspaper on your own time, delivered weekly to your home or office. This subscription also includes UNLIMITED DIGITAL ACCESS for all of your devices. Includes FREE shipping! One easy payment of $3.99/month gets you:

Subscribe Now »