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Mon Apr 19, 2021, 04:05 AM

California Beach Seized in 1924 From a Black Family Could Be Returned

Jacey Fortin 6 hrs ago

Nearly a century after a Southern California city shuttered a beach resort owned by a Black couple, the city, county and state are still reckoning over how to right past wrongs.

The resort was established by Willa and Charles Bruce in Manhattan Beach, Calif., in 1912. During the Jim Crow era, they built a destination where Black tourists could swim, dance, eat and rest. But in 1924, Manhattan Beach officials invoked eminent domain and condemned the Bruces’ land.

The Bruces fought the move but ultimately lost their business and were paid $14,500 — or $224,603 today, adjusted for inflation — for the property. They moved to Los Angeles.

At the time that the land was seized, the city claimed it needed it for a public park but then left it undeveloped for more than three decades. Today it is owned by Los Angeles County and is home to a training center for lifeguards.

Last summer, activists in Manhattan Beach — along with nationwide demonstrations against racism and police brutality — prompted a resurgence of interest in the Bruces.


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