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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

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Almost 100 years after it was seized from the Black family in California, the state returns beachfront land

he descendants of an African-American family who were evicted from their beachfront property by the federal government in 1924 have received the property back. According to the California Governor’s Office

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The descendants of an African-American family who were evicted from their beachfront property by the federal government in 1924 have received the property back. According to the California Governor’s Office, Senate Bill 796 will be signed into law as of Thursday, September 30, returning ownership of Bruce’s Beach to the descendants of Charles and Willa Bruce.

As we proceed to correct this century-old injustice, California takes another step in further bringing the California Dream to communities that have been shamefully excluded over the course of a history of racism,” Newsom said in a statement. “We understand that we are just beginning the process of making amends for our past and California is not going to back down from the structural racism and racial discrimination that continues to plague people of color today.”

Newsom went on to thank the Bruce family, Senator [Steven] Bradford, and the Los Angeles County Supervisors for sacrificing so much to ensure the legacy of this place lives on and justice is served at last.

At a ceremony celebrating the signing of the bill on Thursday, Anthony Bruce Willa and Charles’ great-great-grandson were present. As reported in the Los Angeles Times, in 1912, the Bruce couple purchased the land for $1,225 and developed it into an oceanfront community and an oceanside resort for Black families and travelers who, at the time, were barred from other beaches due to racial discrimination.

Residents of nearby white neighborhoods and the Ku Klux Klan targeted the area in 1924, and Manhattan Beach city officials condemned the neighbourhood by taking possession of the property. Several decades have gone by without any development taking place on the land, despite claims that a park was needed.

Later, Los Angeles County acquired ownership of Bruce’s Beach, leading to Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn deciding that the land should be returned to the Bruce family. California Senator Bradford drafted legislation that would immediately transfer property ownership to the Bruces. The legislation was passed unanimously by the California legislature last month.

We have reached a new milestone and I would like to express my gratitude for Gov. Newsom’s approval of this law, as well as Sen. Bradford for his leadership and the entire California legislature for their unanimous support,” Hahn said in a statement.

She added, “We’re far from being done.” “Now that Los Angeles County officially holds the authority to transfer property, we want the next several months to transfer this property in a way that is not only beneficial to Bruce family, but is also a model that other municipalities can follow. Bringing Bruce’s Beach back to life will set an important precedent, and I’m sure Los Angeles County will be watching closely as this work proceeds.”

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