County presents Bruce Beach deed to heirs of property taken from black couple
Los Angeles County officials presented the deed July 20 for prime oceanfront property in California to the heirs of a black couple who built a beach resort for African-Americans but were bullied and eventually dispossessed nearly a century ago.
The event marked the latest step in a complex effort to address a long-ago wrong suffered by Charles and Willa Bruce, developers whose resort on the shores of now-prestigious Manhattan Beach was known as Bruce’s Beach.
Against the backdrop of waves lapping at sunny Manhattan Beach, County Clerk-Recorder Dean Logan presented a certified copy of the land transfer to Anthony Bruce, great-great-grandson of the Bruce family.
State Sen. Stephen Bradford, who authored a state bill needed for the county to transfer the land to the heirs, said that would not change the injustice.
“But it represents a bold step in the right direction,” he said. “This represents a template for other countries to follow.”
The land was purchased by the Bruces in 1912. They suffered racist harassment from white neighbors, and in the 1920s the Manhattan Beach City Council condemned the property and took the land by eminent domain. However, the city did nothing with the property and it was transferred to the state of California in 1948.
In 1995, the state transferred it to Los Angeles County, with restrictions against further transfers. The county built its lifeguard training headquarters on the property, which also includes a small parking lot.
Janice Hahn, a member of the county board of supervisors, learned of the property’s history and began the complicated process of returning the property to Bruce’s heirs after consulting with county attorneys.
“I’m told that nothing like this has been done before,” she told the crowd, adding that such a move was not unprecedented.
In addition to state law, the transfer required a board vote as well as a process to identify who should receive the land.
Ultimately, the county decided that Marcus and Derrick Bruce, the great-grandsons of Charles and Willa Bruce, were their legal heirs.
The great-grandchildren formed a company to hold the property, and Los Angeles County announced an agreement to lease the property back to the county for 24 months, with annual rent of $413,000 plus all O&M costs and the county’s right to purchase the land for up to $20 million dollar.
County Presents Bruce’s Beach Deed to Heirs of Property Taken From Black Couple – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel Source link County Presents Bruce’s Beach Deed to Heirs of Property Taken From Black Couple – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel