Sunday, August 2, 2020

There's a campaign to pressure a Southern California beach town to atone for how it destroyed a resort for Black people

LA Streets, summarizing from various sources:

In 1912, the beachfront site was purchased by Charles and Willa Bruce, who, starting in 1915, built a beach lodge there. By 1920, Bruce’s Beach was a popular destination for Black Angelenos, who were denied access to most Southern California beaches.

The Bruces and their patrons endured harassment and persecution, including from the Ku Klux Klan. In 1924, the city of Manhattan Beach officially voted to seize Bruce’s property via eminent domain, ostensibly to build a park.

By 1927, the resort had been shuttered. The land went undeveloped for decades.

In the 1950s, fearing that Bruce heirs might sue to get their land back, the city developed the site into a park, named Bayview Terrace Park in 1962.

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Also note that broadly, the civil rights struggle for beach access for communities of color continues today. One example of this is how South Bay cities colluded with Metro to prevent easy direct transit access to beaches; it remains difficult to take a bus from South L.A. to South Bay beaches, though they are only 4-10 miles apart. Metro is planning to someday partially remedy this in its as-yet-unfunded Transit to Trails Plan, but beach access remains an issue.