Los Angeles County is set to pay a Black family $20 million to buy back a piece of land by the beach in Manhattan Beach, California. That land was unjustly stripped from the Bruce family decades ago and recently given back to them after years of advocacy work. Now it’s being reported that the family has decided to sell the land back to LA County for $20 million.
Charles and Willa Bruce bought this piece of land in Manhattan Beach, California in 1912. They built a resort overlooking the pacific ocean and it was a hot spot for Black beach goers and some of them even built their own cottages by the sea. The area was affectionately called Bruce’s Beach.
In 1924, more than two dozen properties, including the resort built by the Bruce family, was seized through eminent domain in an effort to drive Black residents out of the area. The city claimed the land was needed for a public park. After years of litigation between the Bruce family and the city of Manhattan Beach, the family only received $14,500.
It wasn’t until the 1950s that a park was actually built on the land. After going by various names, the park was named after the Bruce family in 2006.
For years, a movement was building to return the land back to the descendants of the Bruce family. In 2021, activists and politicians came together to pass a law to approve the return of the land to the great-grandsons of Willa and Charles Bruce. At the time, the Bruce family agreed to lease the land to the county for $413,000 per year and LA county retained the right to buy it.
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