In 1912, Black entrepreneurs Charles and Willa Bruce purchased a beachfront property in Manhattan Beach, California. “Bruce’s Beach,” which included a dance hall and café, was a favorite destination resort for Black families. In 1927, eminent domain was used by the city of Manhattan Beach to seize the property with the plan to create a park. With increased national awareness and the Black Lives Matter movement, a renewed demand for justice propelled the issue into the state and national discussion. On September 30, 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill No. 796, which cleared the path for the Bruce’s heirs to have the property returned to them.
In this video, ACTEC Fellow Terrence M. Franklin moderates a discussion between George C. Fatheree III, a real estate attorney with Sidley Austin, LLP, and Kavon Ward, a land-rights activist and co-founder of “Where is my Land.” George has a pro bono engagement representing the living descendants of Charles and Willa Bruce and will share details of the legal actions regarding the property. Kavon was instrumental in bringing awareness to Bruce’s Beach injustice and racial discrimination and land rights to the national conversation. They discuss the details in this video.