Afro-american family gets back beach property snatched in 1924, now worth $75 million

WION Web Team
NEW DELHI Updated: Oct 01, 2021, 09:58 PM(IST)

Bruce's Beach Photograph:( Twitter )

Story highlights

California Governor Gavin Newsom has returned a beach property, that was taken from a black family in 1924, to the descendants of the family. "The Bruce family was stripped of their property in 1924 because of hatred and racism," Gavin Newsom tweeted.

A Black family was robbed of their prime beachfront land and heritage over a century ago by white officials of a Southern California community.

Willa and Charles Bruce's descendants, including the couple's great-great grandson, went to the crime scene in Manhattan Beach on Thursday to see Gov. Gavin Newsom sign the bill allowing the land to be restored to the Bruce family. 

California Governor Gavin Newsom used his pen to right a decades-old wrong.

Also read | Why has US failed to fight racism?

"The Bruce family was stripped of their property in 1924 because of hatred and racism.It’s past time to right that wrong.Today, by returning the property CA took another step toward addressing systemic racism and set a path forward for other states & our nation to do the same," Tweeted California Governor Gavin Newsom.


The decision was hailed as a watershed moment in the struggle for reparations and the restoration of stolen lands to African Americans. 

"There are other families waiting for this very day, to have their land returned to them," Patricia Bruce, a cousin of Willa and Charles Bruce, said.

Watch | Gravitas Plus: US is among the worst countries for racial equality

The Bruces established the first West Coast resort for Black people in 1912, amid widespread forced segregation.

It had a lodge, café, dance hall, and dressing tents and was located along what became one of Southern California's trademark beaches, flanked by rows of multimillion-dollar houses.

Racism and hostility were a routine for the Bruces and their customers.

There was even a plot to set fire to the resort.

In the 1920s, the Manhattan Beach City Council invoked eminent domain to acquire the land from the Bruces, ostensibly for the purpose of creating a park.

The property, 'Bruce's Beach', which was purchased for $1,225 in 1912 is now worth over $75 million.

The unanimous approval of state legislators was required to begin the complicated legal process of transferring ownership of what was formerly known as Bruce's Beach.

Kavon Ward, a Black local who heard of the property's past and established Justice for Bruce's Beach, stated, "The journey here was far from easy." 

(With inputs from agencies)

Read in App