By CBSLA Staff

MANHATTAN BEACH (CBSLA) – A stretch of beachfront property in Manhattan Beach that was wrongly seized from a Black family more than 90 years ago is one step closer to being returned to their descendants.

FILE — Bruce’s Beach on March 24, 2021, in Manhattan Beach, Calif. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images)

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The L.A. County Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved a state grant deed modification that clears the way for L.A. County to transfer Bruce’s Beach to the descendants of Willa and Charles Bruce.

In August, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law that gives L.A. County the leeway to handle the transfer however it determines to be in the best interest of the county and the general public.

In October, the board directed the L.A. County CEO to work with staff from the L.A. County Treasurer and Tax Collector’s Office to identify and vet potential claimants. The county also needs to determine with the family how to transfer the property in a way that eases the property tax burden on the descendants when they take possession.

The public seizure of the property has long stained the history of Manhattan Beach, and has been a particular focus of attention in the past couple of years amid a nationwide reckoning on racial injustice.

In 1912, the beachfront property at the Strand and 26th Street was purchased by Willa and Charles Bruce for $1,225 and used to build a beach resort to serve Black residents.

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However, the resort quickly became a target of the area’s white populace, leading to acts of vandalism, attacks on vehicles of Black visitors and even a 1920 attack by the Ku Klux Klan.

In 1929, the Manhattan Beach City Council seized the property citing eminent domain.

The families sued, claiming they were the victims of a racially motivated removal campaign. The Bruces were eventually awarded some damages, as were other displaced families. But the Bruces were unable to reopen their resort anywhere else in town.

The property was transferred to the state and then to L.A. County in 1995. It is now used as a park and as the L.A. County Lifeguard Training Centre.

The park that sits on a portion of the seized land has borne a variety of names over the years. But it was not until 2006 that the city agreed to rename the park “Bruce’s Beach” in honor of the evicted family. That honor, however, has been derided by critics as a hollow gesture toward the family.

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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)