MANHATTAN BEACH (CBSLA) — A stretch of Manhattan Beach is an important part of Southern California’s Black history, and people are increasingly calling for a bigger commemoration of that history.
A grassy oceanfront park in Manhattan Beach was renamed Bruce’s Beach in 2006 for the Bruce family, which owned the property and ran it as a safe place for recreation for the Black community. Racism, however, drove them off the property in the 1920s.
Currently, a plaque tells an abbreviated story of Bruce’s Beach, but an online petition supports the rewriting of the plaque, restoration of the land to the family, and restitution.
“[The Bruce family] developed the beach resort into a flourishing enterprise accessible to all – until the designation of ‘Black Beach’ was branded on it by the Ku Klux Klan and the City Council of Manhattan Beach in 1920,” the petition reads. The beach was subsequently roped off by the city, drawing protests by white residents, and its ownership by the Bruce family revoked by eminent domain to build a public park that was never built, according to the petition.
The Manhattan Beach City Council says they are willing to take suggestions on what they can do to better tell the history of Bruce’s Beach.