US Beach Returned To Black Family After 98 Years

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A prime beachfront resort seized from its black owners nearly 100 years ago has been returned to their descendants by officials in Los Angeles.

Bruce’s Beach was purchased in 1912 to create a beach resort for black people at a time of racial segregation in southern California.

Located in the desirable city of Manhattan Beach, it was forcibly taken by the local council in 1924.

But on Tuesday, Los Angeles officials voted to return the land to the family.

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Willa and Charles Bruce bought the two lots of land for $1,225 in 1912. The beach is now worth an estimated $20m (£16.45m).

Willa told a reporter at the time: “Wherever we have tried to buy land for a beach resort, we have been refused, but I own this land and I am going to keep it.”

Over the next decade, Bruce’s Beach became a “citadel for African Americans coming there for leisure from all over the rest of southern California,” family spokesman Chief Duane “Yellow Feather” Shepard told the BBC last year.
But the local police department put up signs limiting parking to 10 minutes, and another local landowner put up no trespassing signs, forcing people to walk half a mile to reach the water, he said.

When those measures failed to deter visitors, the local authorities seized the land under eminent domain laws – designed to let the government forcibly buy land needed for roads and other public buildings.

Officials claimed they planned to build a park. That did not happen until many decades later, and the area remained vacant in the interim.

On Tuesday, the motion to return the land acknowledged, “it is well documented that this move was a racially motivated attempt to drive out the successful black business and its patrons”.
The return is the result of a lengthy campaign and difficult process. The beach has for years featured a memorial plaque to Willa and Charles, and the state legislature had to pass a law to allow the return of the property.

Now, the city will lease the land from the family for $413,000 a year – with a clause allowing the future purchase of the land for up to $20m plus costs, according to the lease agreement.

“This is a day we weren’t sure would ever come,” Anthony Bruce, a great-great grandson of Willa and Charles said – calling it “bittersweet”.

“It destroyed them financially. It destroyed their chance at the American Dream. I wish they could see what has happened today,” he said.

“We hope this opens people’s eyes to a part of American history that isn’t talked about enough, and we think it’s a step toward trying to right the wrongs of the past.”

And the impact of the seizure is arguably still felt today, Mr Shepard has previously said.

“We were just ousted from that community… there’s only 1% representation of African Americans in Manhattan beach at this time,” he said – a figure backed by the city’s census data.

Source: BBC News

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Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
Our Editorial Staff at St. Lucia Times is a team publishing news and other articles to over 200,000 regular monthly readers in Saint Lucia and in over 150 other countries worldwide.


  1. This is just the tip of the iceberg reality. Imagine a skin tone can decide your future l, being educated guess n this realm just make you worth nothing to society. 100yrs later those ppl dream was like crix biscuits you crack it, it crumble and you have to consume the grums just to justify to yourself you paid for it. Why is the queen unable to bite her shame for our Caribbean people who they are still benefiting from lavishly towards repatriation. At lease the descendants of those ppl can cry for Joy 100yrs that wasn’t yesterday you know .. Happy for those people

  2. A damn shame……I have read about this years ago, and I am very elated the land was returned to it’s rightful owners……..nuff tribulation Black People had to go thru in America; even after they teef the people from the land from the family, they NEVER wanted to give it back to them, all the White People in the neighborhood bawling; now if they want to move out let them go, Black People have money these days this is not 1912. Bear in mind it’s the same crap here in St Lucia with damn Catholic Batty Man Church and certain families (5 of them ) that owns 85 % of the lands in St Lucia, how this came to be is a taboo that will be hardly spoken about, and it’s too lengthy to discuss or write about intricacies of these families evilness against Afro St Lucians, a few elders left to tell the horrible tales I have learn a lot from them, (whole lot of bobbol). The plight of Afro St Lucians are not celebrated or documented in great details that’s just who we are; some in their elucid dysfunctional mindset (they know themselves) would like to keep the history books just the same, as they are known to describe St Lucia as Mulatto.


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