Photos: Bruce’s Beach property authorized to return to family

An aerial view of Bruce's Beach property in Manhattan Beach.
An aerial view of the Bruce’s Beach property, center, in Manhattan Beach. Los Angeles County has returned the shorefront land to the Black couple who were pushed off a century ago by the city.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
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In a historic move celebrated by reparations advocates and social justice leaders across California, Gov. Gavin Newsom has authorized the return of property known as Bruce’s Beach to the descendants of a Black couple that had been run out of Manhattan Beach almost a century ago.

Senate Bill 796, signed into law Thursday by Newsom, confirms that the city’s taking of this shorefront land — on which the Bruces ran a thriving resort for Black beachgoers — was racially motivated and done under false and unlawful pretenses.

Anthony Bruce, the great-great grandson of Charles and Willa Bruce, removes his mask before speaking at a press conference
Anthony Bruce, center, is the great-great grandson of Charles and Willa Bruce, the couple who were pushed off the land. Bruce spoke Thursday at news conference in Manhattan Beach with Gov. Gavin Newsom.removes his mask before speaking at a press conference where California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed SB 796, authorizing the return of ocean-front land to the Bruce family.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

“As governor of California, let me do what apparently Manhattan Beach is unwilling to do: I want to apologize to the Bruce family.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom

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Gov. Gavin Newsom, seated, at Thursday's news conference in Manhattan Beach
State Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Los Angeles), left, Gov. Gavin Newsom, Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn and Anthony Bruce attend Thursday’s news conference in Manhattan Beach.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
Bruce's Beach was once one of the most prominent Black-owned resorts by the sea.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

A photograph of Charles and Willa Bruce in front of a commemorative plaque at Bruce's Beach in Manhattan Beach.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

“The land in the City of Manhattan Beach, which was wrongfully taken from Willa and Charles Bruce, should be returned to their living descendants,” the legislation reads, “and it is in the public interest of the State of California, the County of Los Angeles, the City of Manhattan Beach, and the People of the State of California to do so.”

Descendants of Charles and Willa Bruce gathered in 2018 at Bruce's Beach, in Manhattan Beach, for a family reunion.
(Courtesy of Patricia Bruce-Carter)

“My heart, my spirit, my soul has been in this from the beginning. … This took audacious courage. I am empowered to continue that audacious courage as I move forward in helping other Black families obtain restorative and reparative justice.”

Kavon Ward, who has championed cause through her grass-roots movement Justice for Bruce’s Beach

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Activist Kavon Ward is brought up and recognized by Gov. Gavin Newsom, before he signed SB 796
Activist Kavon Ward is brought up and recognized by Gov. Gavin Newsom, before he signed SB 796, authorizing the return of ocean-front land to the Bruce family in Manhattan Beach.
(Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times)
A couple sit on the lifeguard tower between 26th and 27th streets at Bruce's Beach in Manhattan Beach.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
A park now occupies the property that once belonged to the Bruce family more than a century ago in Manhattan Beach.
A park now occupies the property that once belonged to the Bruce family more than a century ago in Manhattan Beach.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Two people are silhouetted as they work out with boxing gear on Manhattan Beach
A man and woman work out with boxing gear outside the Los Angeles County Lifeguard Training Center, just below Bruce’s Beach park, in Manhattan Beach.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
Selron Bowdry and Kayla Taft watch the sunset at Bruce's Beach in Manhattan Beach.
Selron Bowdry and Kayla Taft watch the sunset at Bruce’s Beach in Manhattan Beach.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
 Sunset at Bruce's Beach.
The sun sets behind a plaque memorializing a park adjacent to Bruce’s Beach. California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill earlier in the day returning the land to the Bruce family,
(Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times)