Nearly a century after a Black couple was stripped of their California oceanfront property, the deed was returned back to their descendants.
On Wednesday (July 20), Los Angeles County officials presented the deed to Bruce's Beach to the descendants of Willa and Charles Bruce, the entrepreneurs who once ran a thriving, oceanfront resort for Black travelers, per the Associated Press.
"This transfer will allow the Bruce family to realize generational wealth, which they have been denied for generations simply because they were black in America," said State Sen. Steven Bradford, the author of the bill that made the land transfer possible.
"Nothing like this has ever been done before," Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn said in a statement. "We can't change the past and we will never be able to make up for the injustice that was done to your great, great grandparents and great grandparents, Willa and Charles nearly a century ago. But this is a start."
Willa and Charles originally purchased the land in 1912 and built a resort known as Bruce's Beach.
The Black couple faced years of harassment and racist threats from their white neighbors and Ku Klux Klan members.
In 1924, the city seized Willa and Charles' property claiming they needed the land to build a park, but it sat vacant for decades.
The property was then transferred to Los Angeles County. County officials began the process of returning the land to its rightful owners two years ago.
Last September, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 796 into law, which allowed Los Angeles County to immediately begin transferring the land back to the Bruce family.
"Thank you so much," Anthony Bruce, a great-great-grandson of the Bruces, said at Wednesday's ceremony. "Without God, we would not be here today. And finally, most importantly, thank you all."
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