Manhattan Beach–Many in the African-American community are upset after news was announced today, that Bruce’s Beach will be sold back to L.A County for $20 million.
In 2021, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to return a piece of beach front property to the descendants of a Black family, who had their land seized during the early 1900’s.
Read More: Interview: Descendants of Bruce Family Receive Manhattan Beach Property Stolen 100 Years Ago
In 1912, Charles and Willa Bruce bought a piece of land in Manhattan Beach, California and built a resort on this land for Black beachgoers to have a place during segregation.
The city claimed the land was needed to build a park, and seized the property under eminent domain in 1924.
The property was purchased for $1,225 in 1912.
The decision to sell the property back to L.A County upsets many who vow to “never sell grandma’s property” and understand the importance of land ownership in the African-American community to close to racial wealth gap.
Some African-American’s are frustrated that so much noise was raised and support put behind returning the property, for the descendants to turn around and sell the property right back to L.A County.
Selling the property itself is not as triggering for some, as the price that it was sold for.
The “deal” for the Bruce Beach property, represents the internal fear and repeated history Black people have of being “cheated.”
Even under the guise of reparations and righting a historic wrong.
The agreement to return the property back to the descendants included certain clauses that does not allow the family to sell the property beyond a price of $20 million.
The family could have also opted to rent the property to L.A County for a little over $400,000 yearly.
Bruce family attorney George Fatheree, appeared on KBLA radio and said that multiple family members are involved in the decision making process, who are at different ages and stages in their lives.
The decision to sell the property, allows the family financial resources that have long been denied to them.
“The return of the property and the ability to sell the property and take the funds and invest it in a way that’s important to their lives, represents an important opportunity for my clients to get a glimpse of that legacy that was theirs,” Fatheree said.Fatheree on KBLA Radio
Anthony Bruce, who is the great-great-grandson of Charles and Willa Bruce, told news outlets back when the property was initially transferred, that his family is not “rushing back” to set up business in Manhattan Beach.
Bruce says he felt current undertones in the Manhattan Beach community, reflects the legacy of excluding Black people in the area.
Despite any feelings people may have concerning the decision, it is important to note the historical move that returning Bruce’s Beach represents, and the opportunities for reparations on a local level moving forward.
It has already led to similar campaigns of those seeking compensation for their descendants, who were forced from their homes and land in L.A County.
Read More: Section 14 families file racial reparations claim against Palm Springs
Most notably, descendants of Latino families who were forcibly removed from their homes to make room for the Dodger Stadium, began pushing for recognition following the news of Bruce’s Beach.
Hundreds of Black and Latino families have also formed a coalition and filed a racial reparations claim against the city Palm Springs, for demolishing an area known as section 14.
Section 14 was the primary residential area for people of color, with the one-square-mile neighborhood owned by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians from 1930 to 1965. The evictions began in late 1954 and continued for 12 years through 1966.News Channel 3
The fact that our elected officials in Los Angeles County, along with the Governor of California were in support returning Bruce’s Beach, is transformative.
Although the agreement notes the appraisal price the family received was equivalent or less than fair, the treatment and history of African-Americans in L.A County can no longer be ignored.
It will be up to the African-American community, to keep the pressure on our elected officials to return and amend everything that has been sabotaged from Black people in Los Angeles.