The Bittersweet Return of Bruce's Beach, Ocean Front Land Seized Under Guise of Eminent Domain
Bruce Beach was a black-owned thriving resort community 100 years ago that was seized in 1924 under the guise of eminent domain. Ninety-eight years later, a Los Angeles County commission unanimously voted this week to return the property to the original owners’ family.
Willa and Charles Bruce spent $1,225 on two pieces of land back in 1912 with the goal of establishing a secure seaside area for Black Angelenos. This action was met with heavy opposition and promoted racially motivated hostility toward the Bruce family. By 1922, the local white community was putting heavy pressure on the family to shut down their business. Despite these efforts and even Klan activity, the Bruce family maintained their stance. It was not until The Manhattan Beach City Council and County officials seized Bruce’s Beach under the guise of eminent domain – which allows the government to seize your land for public uses, such as building or expanding a road or highway, without your consent. Officials claimed they were to build a park on the land, however; this never happened. Instead, the property sat unused for years after the Bruce’s were evicted from the area.
This week the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted in approval to give the Bruce family their rightfully owed property back. Anthony Bruce, a spokesman for the family stated, “My great-great-grandparents, Willa and Charles Bruce sacrificed to open a business that gave Black people a place to gather and socialize, and Manhattan Beach took it from them because of the color of their skin,” he said. “It destroyed them financially. It destroyed their chance at the American Dream.”
At long last, the oceanfront property worth millions, has been rightfully returned. Bruce goes on to state, “We’re just really excited that this is happening, and we’re just overjoyed and overwhelmed by the magnitude of it, honestly. “The agreement returns the land to Marcus and Derrick Bruce, Anthony Bruce’s parents and the great-grandsons of Willa and Charles.
In an Eminent Domain Dispute?
If a condemning authority such as a government entity acquires private property without an owner’s consent, this needs to be declared under eminent domain law. The strict compliance with state law during condemnation proceedings will ensure you, as the property owner, due process, as well as the protection of your constitutional rights. You will need the right eminent domain lawyer in your corner to ensure that this remains the case. With the experienced lawyers at Potts Law Firm, you are given the best legal chance to resolve your eminent domain issue. Give us a call at (888) 420-1299 for a free case evaluation.