Descendants of the owners of Bruce Beach have chosen to sell the historic property to L.A. County for $20 million. According to reports, Marcus and Derrick Bruce, who received ownership of the stolen land after it was returned to their family last year, have informed county officials of their intent to sell.
“This fight has always been about what is best for the family, and they feel what is best for them is selling this property and finally rebuilding the generational wealth they were denied for nearly a century,” Janice Hahn, chairperson of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors tweeted on Tuesday (Jan. 2).
Hahn also addressed the Bruce family’s decision in a statement to the Los Angeles Times, equating the sale to reparations while voicing her hope that the county’s willingness to work with the Bruce family will influence other legislators across the nation.
“They feel what is best for them is selling this property back to the county for nearly $20 million and finally rebuilding the generational wealth they were denied for nearly a century,” Hahn said. “This is what reparations look like and it is a model that I hope governments across the country will follow.”
In July, Los Angeles county officials transferred the deed to Bruce Beach to the rightful owners’ descendants, which occurred during a beachfront ceremony attended by the Bruce family. The transfer came following a campaign to have the land, which was purchased by Charles and Willa Bruce in 1912, returned a century after it was unfairly seized by the Manhattan Beach City Council during the 1920s. Ownership of the deed was later transferred to the state of California in 1948.
At the time, Senator Steven Bradford, who spoke at the ceremony, acknowledged that while the damage done to the Bruce family is irreparable, the transfer of ownership back to the owners’ descendants is a show of progress he also hopes will become the norm as the country continues to wrestle with the specter of reparations.
“It will not reverse the injustice,” Bradford admitted. “But it represents a bold step in the right direction, it represents a template for other states to follow.” Prior to their decision to sell, the Bruce family had previously agreed to lease the land to L.A. county for 24 months for an annual rent of $413,000 including operation and maintenance costs.