Manhattan Beach Community & Destination Guide 2021-22

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BRUCE’S BEACH 2600 HIGHLAND AVE

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f you’re looking for a shock of green with an ocean view, look no further than Bruce’s Beach. This three-tiered coastal park overlooking two blocks of the Pacific is a suburban-like oasis among the sidewalks and sand of the South Bay. But this park has a history, one that looks to divide and breed discomfort in our community. The Strandside land of Bruce’s Beach was owned by Charles and Willa Bruce, a Black couple in the early 1900s. They owned and operated an integrated resort - the first Pacific oceanfront property available to Black people in the days of Jim Crow laws and widespread racism. After runins with prejudiced and violent beachgoers and locals, the city of Manhattan Beach claimed the Bruce’s land and the plots of other surrounding landowners through eminent domain to build the park, shutting down the one Black-owned resort on the West Coast and sending the Bruce family inland. The seized land sat vacant for two decades. Bruce’s Beach history has been muddied and rewritten over the years, but a coalition of Manhattan Beach locals are fighting to tell the real story. The eponymous park changed names in 2006 to honor the Bruce family, but some ask for more than recognition. Regardless of what’s “right” moving forward, we as a city must recognize the sins of the past. Acknowledgment is the first step to acceptance, which leads to change and progress. The benches here, and the expansive views, are perfect for a moment to contemplate how far we’ve come without ignoring where we still must go.

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Regardless of what’s “right” moving forward, we as a city must recognize the sins of the past. Acknowledgment is the first step to acceptance, which leads to change and progress.

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M A N H AT TA N B E AC H CO M M U N I T Y & D E S T I N AT I O N G U I D E

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