Governor Gavin Newsom signed a land restitution bill for the grandchildren of two blacks, Willa and Charles Bruce, which was taken from the Brushes in Manhattan Beach, Calif., Nearly a hundred years ago. Newsom went to the site where the Brakes lounge was located to sign a new law in front of Bruce family members, the media and others raised awareness of how California blacks were being evicted from a key coastal area.
“I am proud, as a son of this region, I am proud to be the governor of this country, of different countries and with a different democratic government to be here, Anthony is with you,” said Newsom referring to Anthony Bruce, great-grandson of Willa and Charles, and heir to the field, on the billboard.
Newsom added that the incident was “of all families torn apart by racism across the country and the world.”
Earlier this month, the California Legislature unanimously approved a move to allow Los Angeles County to return the building to the Willy and Charles tribes. They both built and operated a promotional site that housed Black clients. At the time, it was one of two places in the Los Angeles area where black people could visit the beach safely, according to the LA Times, as some public beaches were considered “white only.”
But their excitement came with frustration, as some white Manhattan Beach residents – including members of the Ku Klux Klan – hated the area and harassed black visitors to prevent them from coming.
In 1924, the Manhattan Beach City Council used a popular authority to evict the Bruce family of land to build a park.
The property was later transferred to the state of California. The country eventually surrendered to the region, saying it could not be given or sold.
Black expropriation was common throughout the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and it contributed to the fragmentation of the economy that exists today.
“You found evidence of a business power that was alive and well in this family, perseverance, anger, determination to make things happen,” Newsom said. “We are here today to try to take revenge [their loss]. ”
Laws backed by Democratic state Sen. Steve Bradford, signed by Newsom and China, lifts the country’s ban, allowing LA County to reclaim land. During the signing of the bill, Bradford – who is Black and represents the southern LA state that borders Manhattan Beach – talked about growing up in Southern California and hearing stories about Bruce’s family as he walked through Manhattan Beach.
At a Chinese ceremony, Bradford noted that people often ask, What do you think the economy of the nation would be like for the Brakes? ”
He said in response to pointing to white families that built the economy. “I said let’s look at the Gettys, look at the Rockefellers, look at Forbes,” Bradford said. “Such would be the case with the Bruce family. But they were rejected because of the racist nature of this city. “
Bradford has recently criticized Manhattan Beach City Council for failing to apologize to the Brakes.
In response, Newsom said: “Let me do what looks like Manhattan Beach, and I would like to apologize to the Bruce family for what they did to them 100 years ago.”
Janice Hahn, a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, grew up in the Manhattan Beach area and has been fighting for cause at the district level.
“The district, of course, had real parcels that once belonged to Bruce’s residence. I knew there was something to do and it was to return the property, ”said Hahn.
“The law was used to steal these things a hundred years ago and the law today will restore them.”
According to family members and historians, Willa and Charles Bruce fought to preserve their land. After the city seized their building, they filed a lawsuit and were fined $ 14,500. Fixed a rise in prices, which would not even reach a quarter of a million dollars today, according to the New York Times.
Newsom, Bradford and Hahn all gave credit to Kavon Ward for leading the case through the Justice of Bruce’s Beach tour. Ward has now launched a national campaign to help Black families seize property called Where Is My Land. He says many people have already contacted him for help with possible incidents.
The first legal recognition of the Brakes case was in 2006, when the city council voted to name the Bruce’s Beach park, near where they once lived. It happened under the leadership of the then Mayor Mitch Ward, the first Black elected in Manhattan Beach. He was also present at the signing of the bill and was commended for his efforts.
The Los Angeles County Lifeguard Training Headquarters, currently located at Bruce’s Beach– is estimated to be worth about $ 75 million, according to CNN. The County is planning to lease land from Anthony Bruce if they come up with a lease agreement.
Chief Duane Yellow Feather Shepard, of the Pocasset Wampanoag Tribe of Pokanoket Nation, a distant relative of Willa and Charles Bruce and a family spokesman, told Yahoo News in July that this is not a case of retaliation, but a matter of return. stolen land.
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