What Was Once Thought Impossible Is Now Happening
In 1912, Willa and Charles Bruce purchased a number of parcels of land in Manhattan Beach, California. There, they built a thriving resort that welcomed Black families for rest, relaxation, and socialization — something that was denied in most other coastal California communities.
The resort was not looked upon favorably by white people in Manhattan Beach, and the Bruce family was the frequent target of racist threats and harassment. The Ku Klux Klan reportedly set fire to a mattress under the main deck at Bruce’s Beach and burned down a nearby home owned by a Black family.
Despite these threats, the Bruce family ran a thriving business until the city of Manhattan Beach, under the pretense of building a park, seized the land using eminent domain and evicted the family.
Willa and Charles fought the takeover but ultimately left Manhattan Beach with $14,500 in compensation. They moved to New Mexico to work as cooks for other people’s businesses. Today, the land has a market value of more than $70 million.
In 2021, something remarkable is happening: the land that was once Bruce’s Beach is being returned to the heirs of Willa and Charles. Kavon Ward, co-founder of Where Is My Land, launched a movement called Justice for Bruce’s Beach that has made what once seemed impossible — the rightful return of the land from Los Angeles County to the Bruce family — a reality.
Where Is My Land represents the continuation of the movement started at Bruce’s Beach in 2020. Across the United States, stolen lands will be returned to their rightful owners.
June 27, 1912
THE LAND IS BEING RETURNED TO THE BRUCE FAMILY DESCENDANTS
Justice For Bruce's Beach In The Press
Kavon Ward, founder of Justice for Bruce’s Beach committed to getting the land back to the Bruce family during a Juneteenth picnic she co-hosted at the Bruce’s Beach park located in Manhattan Beach just above the original Bruce’s Beach property. The picnic gave space for community healing after the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd,.
It also served to inform the community about what happened to the Bruce’s.