Almost 100 years ago, Los Angeles County drove a black family off its beachfront property. Now they're giving it back and paying the family nearly $500k a year

Jun 23rd

Proposals for "reparations," particularly to compensate for slavery, are mostly short-sighted, silly and unserious.

But there are time when some form of compensation for past evils really does seem appropriate—and, incredibly, California has managed to find it in the case of the Bruce family:

By 1912, Charles and Willa Bruce had made their way to California. Willa paid $1,225 for the first of two lots along the Strand between 26th and 27th streets and ran a popular lodge, cafe and dance hall that extended a rare welcome to Black families seeking a weekend by the sea.

Many called the area Bruce's Beach. A few more Black families, drawn to this new community, bought and built their own cottages next door.

But the Bruces and their guests faced increasing threats from white neighbors. The Ku Klux Klan and local real estate agents purportedly plotted ways to harass them.

Well, that didn't work, so the local racists turned instead to the government, which eventually managed to run them out of town:

[C]ity officials in 1924 condemned the neighborhood and seized more than two dozen properties through eminent domain. The reason, they said, was an urgent need for a public park.

Ahh, yes, that old "urgent need for a public park." The government always has an "urgent need" for someone's property, doesn't it?

Naturally, unsurprisingly, the government did nothing with the parcels it snatched from the Bruce family. Now it intends to give it back to the descendants of those from which it took the property—and brother, the government is making good on it:

The beachfront property, estimated to be worth $20 million after a complicated appraisal, would be transferred to the Bruce family following an escrow process, according to the proposed plan released late Wednesday. The county would then rent the property from the Bruces for $413,000 per year and maintain a county lifeguard facility at the site.

The family is gonna need to get one of those counter doohickeys to keep track of all the cash they're going to be bringing in:

Big congratulations to the Bruces for their long-ago-owned, newly acquired L.A. County beachfront property!


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