Los Angeles County, for $20million, will buy back a prime beachfront piece of property from the descendants of the black couple from whom the land was forcibly taken a century ago and returned just last year.
His great-great-grandparents Willa and Charles Bruce bought the Manhattan Beach plot in 1912, only to have it improperly seized by the city in 1924 after a racist pressure campaign.
Direct descendants of Willa and Charles have now made the arrangement to sell the land back to the county for roughly $20million.
The chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Janice Hahn, said in a Tuesday statement, ‘This fight has always been about what is best for the Bruce family, and 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.’
A spokesperson for Hahn said that the Bruce family is not anticipating on delivering a statement about the sale.
Bruce Beach is made up of two lots of land with valuable beachfront views in Manhattan Beach, an upscale Los Angeles community that to this day remains less than 1 percent black.
It was first acquired by the Bruces between 1912 and 1920 and was the site where they eventually built a beach resort for members of the black community, who were banned from using most white beach clubs at the time.
The resort was an achievement but was one of several owned by black landowners that were taken by Manhattan Beach authorities in the 1920s after white residents protested of their existence.
At the time the deal was struck, Anthony – who currently resides in Florida with his wife Sandra Bruce – said that the initial seizure of the land ‘destroyed’ his great-great-grandparents financially.
‘It destroyed their chance at the American Dream. I wish they could see what has happened today,’ he said.
The July ceremony noted the first time a government body had even restituted wrongfully seized land from a family of African Americans.
During a speech he gave that day, Anthony said, ‘It’s surreal, and it’s almost like being transported to the other side of the known universe.’
‘I want to remain level-headed about the entire thing. I want to make sure I don’t lose focus as to what Charles and Willa’s dream was. The dream was to just have an America where they could thrive and have their American business thrive.’
Without God, we would not be here today. And finally, thank you all. God bless,’ he concluded.