The Land Was Ours: Bruce Beach (Manhattan Beach) California


Willa and Charles Bruce

A young and ambitious married couple, Willa and Charles Bruce, purchased some of the land that makes up Bruce’s Beach in 1912. They added three lots to the original land and soon set to work, establishing a resort that was open to all African Americans. Given that segregation practices had restricted most beach access for blacks in the city, the new resort was welcomed by many who had until then hardly had the chance to experience the area’s coastal beauty.

Land around the resort was bought by wealthy land developer George H. Peck, also in 1912. Being a bit of a maverick for the times, Peck did away with the common practice of racial segregation by offering up the plots for purchase to African Americans. It was he who also founded Peck’s Pier, which was originally the only local pier accessible by African Americans at the time. Thanks to his actions, black families were able to buy properties near the Bruce’s beach resort and build their own summer homes. This helped the area grow into an important fixture of Manhattan Beach’s black community.

More can be found in the links below.

1.  https://www.californiabeaches.com/bruces-beach-park-history/

2.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce%27s_Beach

3.  https://alisonrosejefferson.com/african-american-leisure-southern-california-tales-and-bruces-beach/


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