Los Angeles Times
A state filled with stolen land
Re “Bruce’s Beach may return to family’s hands,” April 10
There is no question that a debt is owed to the descendants of Willa and Charles Bruce, whose beachfront property and resort catering to Black families were seized by the city of Manhattan Beach in 1924. But is that the only debt owed? Long before that beautiful coastal property was owned then unjustly wrested from the Bruce family, it was occupied by Native Americans whose attachment to that land was as dear. Why is there no discussion about the restoration or compensation to the original occupants of precious California lands or even an acknowledgment of those original stewards of the land?
People of color across the board have been victims of theft of land and property. Shine a light on all of it, please.
Lucinda Blackwood, North Hills
Restoring the Bruce family property is long overdue, but righting this racist wrong will never compensate African Americans for the real cost of eliminating Bruce’s Beach. Generations of Black families and children lost a gateway to the ocean and California’s aquatic culture.
Drowning is the secondleading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children 14 and under, and for African American children, the rate of drowning is almost three times that for white kids. Swimming, surfing and water polo are lily-white sports because African American children have limited access to water, be it swimming pools or the ocean.
Returning real estate will never undo depriving generations of African Americans the healthful pursuit of swimming or the thrill of riding a wave. Peter Neushul
Isla Vista, Calif.
Not only should the beachfront property be returned to the Bruce family heirs, but the settlement should include a grant to establish the beach resort that was displaced by white vandals.
It would be nice to have a resort that welcomed Black families back in Manhattan Beach. The Bruces deserve no less.
Joan DaVanzo Long Beach
Does the return of land seized by the government set a precedent? What about the families of all those displaced in Southern California? Will they too soon have land returned to them?
What about private transactions where Black land ownership was prevented or they were forced out of a residential area? What about the families of internment camp survivors whose land and businesses were taken during World War II?
Also, California law provides that under certain conditions, longterm public access across private property may result in the establishment of a permanent public easement. This is called a public prescriptive right of access. Bruce’s Beach has had public access for decades, so the easement aspect seems likely to be long established. Will that be rescinded?
Have the powers that be really considered everything?
Larry Wright Long Beach