The Los Angeles Board of Supervisors has voted to return the beachfront property in Manhattan Beach, California to the descendants of Willa Bruce and Charles Bruce. The vote was the culmination of an extensive campaign led by historians, community activists, city officials and the Bruce family.
"This was an injustice inflicted upon not just Willa and Charles Bruce -- but generations of their descendants who almost certainly would have been millionaires if they had been able to keep this property and their successful business," Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn told FOX 11.
"When I realized that the county now had ownership of the Bruces' original property, I felt there was nothing else to do but give the property back to the direct descendants of Willa and Charles Bruce."
In 1912, Charles and Willa Bruce purchased the property for approximately $1,225. After more than a decade of attacks from members of the KKK, the city of Manhattan Beach seized the property through eminent domain legislation. Nearly a century later, the area is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. According to city officials, the property is worth nearly $75 million today.
“If there’s generational wealth that can be transferred or inherited, then there should also be generational debts that should be incurred and taken cared of,” Anthony Bruce told ABC News.
“I want people to take away from this that there is justice and that you have to pursue it and your family can find peace for some of the wrongs that were committed against them in the past.”
It is unclear what the Bruce family will do with the land in the long term, but their short-term plan involves leasing the land to the area's lifeguard training program.
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