California beach returned to Black family nearly a century later

by | Jul 21, 2022 | World

The California beach was seized from its Black owners by city officials in the 1920s, in a move deemed racist.A Black-owned beach in the United States that served as a rare resort for Black patrons in segregation-era California, before it was seized by local officials in the 1920s, has been returned to the descendants of its original owners.
Activists and local legislators have long said the move by officials in 1924 to seize the property in Manhattan Beach in Los Angeles County, which was owned by Black couple Charles and Willa Bruce, was motivated by racism.
In a Wednesday ceremony, Los Angeles County officials returned the deed of the prime property to Marcus and Derrick Bruce, the great-grandsons of the property’s owners, in what they described as the righting of a century-old racial injustice.
“It’s surreal and it’s almost like being transported to the other side of the known universe,” said Anthony Bruce, a great-great-grandson of the Bruce couple. “It’s just I want to make sure that I don’t lose focus as to what Charles and Willa’s dream was.”
Anthony Bruce, a great-great-grandson of Charles and Willa Bruce, poses for photos with a plaque after a dedication ceremony in Manhattan Beach, California [Jae C Hong/AP Photo]
Community activist Kavon Ward, of Justice for Bruce’s Beach which spearheaded the effort to return the land, watched the handover from the crowd.
“This is one win, but we deserve more wins,” she said. “And I’m going to help all the Black families that I can try to reclaim the land that was stolen from them.”
Charles and Willa Bruce bought the sprawling 650 square metres (7,000 square feet) property in 1 …

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