New legislation, if enacted, will authorize Los Angeles County officials to transfer the site, which is currently run as a lifeguard center, to the descendants of Charles and Willa Bruce — who lost their land and business when the city seized it in 1924, the Los Angeles Times reported.
State legislation is required because of limitations placed on the property when the state transferred the two parcels to L.A. County in 1995.
“We stand here today to introduce a bill that will correct this gross injustice and allow the land to be returned to the Bruce family,” state Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) said Friday when formally introducing the bill. “It is my hope that this legislation will not be the last in a series of actions by the state to address centuries of atrocious actions against black Americans.”
Bruce family representative Duane Shepard Sr. acknowledged those who fought to get his family’s land back Friday while denouncing Manhattan Beach city officials for declining to officially atone for the historic wrong.
“We reserve our rights on this Earth to be men, to be women, to be human beings, to be given the rights of human beings, to be given the respect of human beings, in this country in this day and in this society in this damn city,” Shepard said.
The Bruce family saga began in 1912, when Willa Bruce bought the first of two lots along the Strand between 26th and 27th streets for $1,225. Her husband, Charles, worked as a dining-car chef on trains. Willa turned the site into a flourishing resort for black families who, because of racism, could not enjoy other beach areas along the coast.
The place became known as “Bruce’s Beach” and other black families moved to the area and built their own summer cottages.
The Bruces and their guests underwent threats and harassment from the Ku Klux Klan, among others, for years. Then, in 1924, the city censured the area, catching more than 20 properties through eminent domain.
Officials justified the move by claiming there was an urgent need for a public park. But the land stood empty for decades and was not turned into a park until years later, the LA Times said.
Admittedly, it is a good idea to address racism. Still, It is absurd how far the length of woke culture has become. What can we expect next? Why don't we give Indians and Mexicans their old land as well?