Church celebrates return of Bruce's Beach to descendants of original Black owners

L.A. County officials returned the property to the Bruce family heirs last month.

ByABC7.com staff via KABC logo
Tuesday, August 9, 2022
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Church members gathered for a historic Sunday service at Bruce's Beach in Manhattan Beach after Los Angeles County officials presented the deed to the oceanfront property to the heirs of a Black couple who were stripped of the land nearly a century ago.

MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Church members gathered for a historic Sunday service at Bruce's Beach in Manhattan Beach after Los Angeles County officials presented the deed to the oceanfront property to the heirs of a Black couple who were stripped of the land nearly a century ago.

The special service has been in the works for years and it's the first time a member of the Bruce family has finally owned the Manhattan Beach property.

Wila and Charles Bruce had bought the land in 1912 and built a resort for African Americans.

However, the Bruces and their guests were subjected to harassment and became targets of racist threats.

Manhattan Beach seized the property from the Bruces in 1924 by eminent domain.

L.A. County officials returned the property to the Bruce family heirs last month.

READ ALSO | LA County officially surrenders deed for Bruce's Beach land to descendants of original Black owners

The pastor of Santa Clarita's Ekklesia Christian Community Church said worship isn't confined to four walls and the church enjoys having a presence in the Black community.

"We're here to have a church service of course, but the first part is to recognize and celebrate the Bruce family," the pastor said.

The goal of this service was to celebrate, and honor the legacy established by the Bruce family and other Black families who had owned property in the area.