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About Bruce's Beach in Manhattan Beach, California

Bruce’s Beach is an historic park located in the city of Manhattan Beach, California, that has recently gained national attention due to its complicated history of racial discrimination and the ongoing efforts to rectify it.

The beach in front of the park is about mid-way between Manhattan Beach Pier and El Porto Beach. It has a paved bike path, lifeguards, and a parcourse exercise area. The park slopes downhill toward the ocean and has benches and grass terraces that are perfect for watching sunsets.

The history of Bruce’s Beach dates back to the early 1900s when the land was purchased by Charles and Willa Bruce, an African-American couple who saw the potential of the land as a prime location for a resort for African-American families.

The Bruce’s built a small resort on the land, consisting of a lodge, a café, and several rental cottages. The resort, named Bruce’s Lodge, quickly became a popular destination for African-American families who were barred from many other beaches due to segregation laws. Bruce’s Lodge became an important social and economic center for the African-American community in Southern California.

However, the Bruce family faced constant harassment and intimidation from the local white community, who were deeply opposed to having an African-American resort in their neighborhood. The Ku Klux Klan, which was active in the area at the time, threatened the Bruce family and their guests, burned crosses on the beach, and even vandalized the property. The local authorities did little to protect the Bruce family, and in some cases, actively worked against them by imposing arbitrary fines and regulations.

In 1924, the city of Manhattan Beach used eminent domain to seize the land from the Bruce family, ostensibly to build a park. The Bruce family was offered a fraction of the land’s market value as compensation, and they were forced to leave their property. The city then used the land to build a park, which was renamed Manhattan Beach Park in 1948. For decades, the history of Bruce’s Beach was largely forgotten, and the park became a popular destination for local residents and tourists.

In recent years, however, there has been a growing movement to recognize and rectify the injustice done to the Bruce family. In 2007, the state of California designated Bruce’s Beach a historic landmark. In April of 2023, the city of Manhattan Beach passed a resolution to formally apologize to the Bruce family and their descendants, acknowledging the city’s role in their displacement. The city also pledged to explore ways to rectify the situation, including potentially returning the land to the Bruce family or their descendants.

The current status of Bruce’s Beach remains unclear. While there have been calls to return the land to the Bruce family or their descendants, this is a complicated legal issue that would require a significant amount of time and resources. In the meantime, the city has taken steps to honor the legacy of the Bruce family, including installing a plaque commemorating their history at Manhattan Beach Park.

Address
115 26th St
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
Phone
310-802-5000
Park Name
Bruce's Beach Park
Other Names
Bruces Beach, Manhattan Beach Strand Parcourse
Owner
City Park
Pet Details
On leash dog area in park, but no dogs allowed on the beach
Fees
Free street parking and metered lot between the park and the beach
Activities
Beach Walking, Volleyball, Basketball, Biking, Exercising, Watching Sunsets
Amenities
Lifeguards, Restrooms, Paved Bike Path, Parcourse, Grass Lawns, Benches, Basketball Court, Historical Site
Map of Bruce's Beach
Manhattan Beach, US
9:49 am, May 30, 2024
temperature icon 63°F
L: 59° H: 64°
Feels like 62.83 °F haze
Wind gusts: 3 m/s
UV Index: 4.9
Precipitation: 0 inch
Visibility: 10 km
Sunrise: 5:44 am
Sunset: 7:58 pm
Humidity 85 %
Pressure1015 mb
Wind 3 m/s

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