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LA Returns Beach To Black Family. Reparations?

Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn announced a plan to return “stolen” land back to the descendants of a black family. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve the measure. Since the land has been owned by LA County since 1995, state legislation (Senate Bill 796) must happen in order to make it finalized. The land sits on present-day Manhattan Beach and is worth an estimated $70 million dollars.

“Bruce’s Beach”, as the parcel of land was previously known, was seized by the local government back in 1924. Eminent Domain, or the practice of Government seizing land/property for public use, was used as an excuse to take the land. The land was supposed to be part of a park expansion. But the problem is that the park never materialized and the land set undeveloped for decades. The land now serves as a lifeguard center. The Bruce Family (and others on their behalf) have been fighting for years to get land back, now they are one step closer.

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This story has been used as a springboard to request other desired measures. Reparations for slavery are obviously on the top of this list. The problem is that there are no more slaves and slave owners. And the practice of slavery was legal, although immoral in those times. In the case of Bruce’s Beach, the local Government, the beach, and the family’s descendants are all available.

It makes sense to transfer the beachfront property back to the Bruce family, especially since the Government did not properly utilize eminent domain. Slavery reparations would require so much legal work and physical leg work that it wouldn’t make practical sense. And unlike a possession that can be readily identified and then returned to the rightful owner, slavery reparations are much more nebulous and vague.

SOURCES:

Los Angeles official calls for US to return more stolen land

Black family whose ancestors were robbed of LA resort may get land back

Bruce’s Beach: Los Angeles County supervisors vote to return Bruce’s Beach in Manhattan Beach to owners’ descendants – ABC7 Los Angeles

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