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Sunday, August 14, 2022

California Beach Returns to Family Nearly 100 Years After Being Taken from Black Owners

about 100 years Southern California officials have agreed to return the property to their surviving descendants in an effort to “right the wrong” after the government confiscated a black family’s beachfront property during racial segregation.

Villa and the great-grandson of Charles Bruce, who bought the land for use as a Black Beach resort in the early 1900s, will own prime real estate, valued at $21 million, according to a unanimous vote Tuesday by Los Angeles. Later they will be returned. County Board of Supervisors.

“It’s never too late to right a wrong,” Janice Hahn, the county supervisor who helped with efforts to return the Manhattan Beach land, said in a statement. “Bruce’s Beach was taken down almost a century ago, but it was unfair not only to Villa and Charles Bruce but to generations of his descendants, who would almost certainly be millionaires today if they needed to keep their beachfront property.” permission was granted.”

A marker for Bruce Beach in Manhattan Beach in the Los Angeles area. The land was purchased by Charles and Villa Bruce in the early 1900s and operated as a seaside resort for black beachgoers.

J L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The nearly 7,000-square-foot property gave blacks access to the beach at a time when they were otherwise prevented and discouraged from accessing the shore. According to an interview given in 1912, Villa Bruce paid $1,225 for the property, describing that price as “higher” than the adjoining lot.

“Wherever we’ve tried to buy land for a beach resort, we’ve been denied, but I own this land and I’m going to keep it,” she said, when faced with protests from white locals. who had reportedly vowed to find a solution. continue to operate.

Roughly 13 years later, in 1925, the land was confiscated by the Manhattan Beach Board of Trustees with the claim that it would be turned into a park. Hahn’s proposal, co-authored by Observer Holly Mitchell, said that “it is well documented that the move was a racially motivated attempt to weed out successful black business and its patrons.”

A Photo Of Villa And Charles Bruce On A Plaque At Bruce Beach In Manhattan Beach, California.
A photo of Villa and Charles Bruce on a plaque at Bruce Beach in Manhattan Beach, California.

Washington Post via Getty Images

The property was condemned after just five years, and the resort was demolished. The land was transferred to the state until 1995, when it was then transferred to the county, which used it for lifeguard operations.

A transfer agreement returns the property to the family’s two great-grandchildren, Marcus and Derrick Bruce. There is a 24-month lease agreement in which the county will pay $413,000 annually for its continued use. It will also pay for the operation and maintenance cost. The agreement also includes the right to give the county the right to purchase the land at a later date for $20 million.

“The lease agreement will allow the Bruce family to realize the wealth of a previously disadvantaged generation, while allowing the county’s lifeguard operations to continue for the foreseeable future without interruption,” the proposal said.

Anthony Bruce, Great-Grandson Of Charles And Villa Bruce, Attends A News Conference Last September When A Bill Was Signed To Return Seaside Land To His Family.
Anthony Bruce, great-grandson of Charles and Villa Bruce, attends a news conference last September when a bill was signed to return seaside land to his family.

JL Clendenin via Getty Images

Anthony Bruce, the great-grandson of Villa and Charles, told the Los Angeles Times that their family was torn apart by losing land so many years ago.

Villa and Charles the Bruce ended up working as chefs for other business owners for the rest of their lives, and Anthony’s grandfather, Bernard, spent his life “extremely angry at the world” at his family’s mistreatment, he said. Told.

“Many families across the United States have been forced to move away from their homes and lands,” he told the Times. “I hope that these monumental events encourage such families to trust and believe that one day they will have what they deserve. We hope that our country no longer accepts prejudice as acceptable behaviour. And we need to unite against it, because it has no place in our society today.”

World Nation News Desk
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