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Los Angeles County could be able to reclaim beachfront property that was seized from a Black family.



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County officials in Los Angeles are considering returning a beachfront property that was taken from a Black family nearly a century ago.

In 1924, Manhattan Beach used eminent domain to evict Willa and Charles Bruce, the city’s first Black landowners, from their home, according to KABC-TV. At a time when the beaches on the strand were segregated, they even ran a resort for Black families.

A city park was built on a portion of the property. It is now owned by Los Angeles County and serves as the headquarters and training facility for the county’s lifeguards.

County Supervisor Janice Hahn said she’s looking for ways to make amends with the family, such as returning the land, compensating them for their losses, or buying the property from them so the lifeguard building can stay put.

Hahn told the station, “I wanted the county of Los Angeles to be a part of righting this awful wrong.”

Meanwhile, a Manhattan Beach task force is proposing that the City Council consider issuing an apology and erecting a memorial plaque to the Bruce family.

The seizure, according to Anthony Bruce, one of the family’s last living direct descendants now living in Florida, deprived him of his family’s legacy.

“It was a betrayal of the Bruce family,” Anthony Bruce says. “I believe we will still be rich Americans living in California… perhaps in Manhattan Beach.”

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