Land Stolen From A Black Family Returned After Nearly 100 Years

Bruce’s Beach was a safe haven for African-Americans.

The descendants of Charles and Willa Bruce, Black California entrepreneurs who owned Bruce’s Beach in California, are now in possession of the land that was stolen from their family through eminent domain in 1924.

The Los Angeles County commission voted on June 28 to return the property to the family of the original owners. The Associated Press reported on July 20,  Los Angeles County presented the deed for California oceanfront property to Marcus and Derrick Bruce, the legal heirs and great-grandsons of Charles and Willa Bruce.

They have already decided to lease the land back to the county for $413,000 a year. Anthony Bruce, another descendant of the family, told KABC-TV the family has agreed to sell the property back to the city at a lump sum because “we as a family do not feel welcomed in Manhattan City Beach.”

He said Manhattan Beach is the most prejudiced city in the country.

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Supervisor Janice Hahn, who was at the forefront of returning Bruce's Beach to the family, said in a statement, "We can't change the past and we will never be able to make up for the injustice that was done to Willa and Charles Bruce a century ago, but this is a start.”

According to NBC News, the family can sell the property back to the city for no more than $20 million. The city’s current population is less than 1 percent Black, CNN reports.

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