California Returns Bruce's Beach to Black Family Nearly 100 Years After Ancestors Were Forced Out |

California Returns Bruce’s Beach to Black Family Nearly 100 Years After Ancestors Were Forced Out

A Black family’s beachfront property that was seized by the government in 1924 has finally been returned to the descendants of its original owners.

via: People

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 796 into law on Thursday at Bruce’s Beach, where Willa and Charles’ great-great-grandson Anthony Bruce was in attendance. The legislation corrects the racial injustice that allowed the city to seize the land, where the Bruces once ran a thriving resort for Black travelers.

“As we move to remedy this nearly century-old injustice, California takes another step furthering our commitment to making the California Dream a reality for communities that were shamefully shut out by a history of racist exclusion,” Newsom said in a statement. “We know our work is just beginning to make amends for our past, and California will not shy from confronting the structural racism and bias that people of color face to this day.”

“I thank the Bruce family, Senator Bradford, the Los Angeles County Supervisors and all those who fought to keep the legacy of this place alive and deliver this long overdue justice,” he added.

The bill, which unanimously passed the state Legislature this month, comes with an urgency clause, authorizing Los Angeles County to immediately begin the process of transferring the land to the Bruce family.

Willa and Charles Bruce bought the land for $1,225 in 1912, before expanding to build their resort, according to the Los Angeles Times. They created a safe haven by the sea, where more Black families began to move and form a thriving community.

After they endured years of racist threats and harassment from their white neighbors and the Ku Klux Klan, city officials condemned the neighborhood in 1924, seizing dozens of properties through eminent domain. The city claimed that they took action out of an urgent need for a park, but the land sat vacant for several more decades.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn took on the charge of returning the land to its rightful owners after realizing the county now owned Bruce’s Beach. She’s since been in contact with Anthony Bruce, state lawmakers, county lawyers and assessors to make Thursday’s victory possible.

“This is a milestone for us, and I want to thank, not only Governor Newsom for signing this bill into law, but Senator Bradford for his leadership and the entire state legislature for their unanimous support,” said Supervisor Hahn in a statement.

“The work is far from done. Now that LA County officially has the authority to transfer this property, my goal these next several months will be to transfer this property in a way that not only works for the Bruce family, but is a model that other local governments can follow,” Hahn said. “Returning Bruce’s Beach can and should set a precedent for this nation and I know that all eyes will be on Los Angeles County as this work gets underway.”

Last week, Gov. Newsom signed Senate Bill 231, transferring the Blues Beach property in Mendocino County back to local Indigenous tribes.

The returning of Bruce’s Beach should set a precedent for this country, make it right America.

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