Bruce Beach Now Signed Back To It’s Rightful Black Owners

Charles & Willa Bruce, The original Bruce Beach owners

In the early 1900’s it was nearly impossible for people of color to have a vacation. Charles and Willa Bruce decided to fill that gap and provide a luxury resort space, since Blacks would get turned away lots of times. So, they found a Manhattan Beach property in 1912 for $1,225. The California resort soon became a safe haven for Black people to enjoy.

Mrs. Willa Bruce (left) with her daughter in law Meda (center) and her sister- near Bruce’s Lodge in Manhattan Beach in 1920. Photo by Allison Rose Jefferson, courtesy California African American Museum

The History of The Property

However, white locals weren’t thrilled. The idea of Black people in their space sparked harrassment and verbal abuse of the patrons. Ultimately leading up to the loss of the Bruce property in 1924, the city seized the land. Turning the beach into a public park, the government was able to essentially steal the Bruce’s property.

Clearly God don’t like ugly because the property just sat dormant for years and was eventually transferred to the state in 1948. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Bruce’s sued the government, and received $14,500. However, they never got their land back.

Ensuring The Property Was Shut Down

Believe it or not, in 1995, the property was seized again, by LA County. This time, the operations shut down the ability to sell or transfer the property.

However, on Thursday, the process of righting the wrongs of the past began. The $75 million property currently sits on two lots . Thus, after legislation was unanimously approved by state lawmakers, Gov. Gavin Nesom seemed to be happy signing the landmark bill into law.

Governor Gavin Newsom signs SB 796, a bill to return Manhattan Beach land to descendants of its original Black owners, the Bruce family, in Manhattan Beach on Thursday, September 30, 2021. (Photo by Brittany Murray, Press-Telegram/SCNG)
Governor Gavin Newsom signs SB 796, a bill to return Manhattan Beach land to descendants of its original owners, the Bruce family, in Manhattan Beach on Thursday, September 30, 2021. (Photo by Brittany Murray, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

Thankfully, the property is now in the hands of it’s rightful owners.

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