A bill signed by Governor Gavin Newsom has helped a Black family get back a piece of land that they had lost almost a century back. In a dramatic move, Newsom visited the area once owned by the family and signed the law in the presence of descendants of Charles and Willa Black, the original owners of the property.
Right groups and the media raised awareness on how Black families in California were once pushed off the beachfront property. Governor Gavin Newsom said that he was proud, that as a Governor and son of the diverse state, in the most diverse nation in the world to be present with the couple and their son, Anthony. He is a direct descendant of Charles and Willa.
Governor Gavin Newsom Mentioned Event For Families Affected By Racism
Governor Gavin Newsom said that the occasion was for families that were torn by racism prevalent in the US and across the world.
The Legislature of the state had earlier approved unanimously the steps to allow the County to hand over the beachfront property to descendants of the couple. Charles and Willa had founded and ran a flourishing resort that had primarily Black patronage.
During their time, it stood as one of the two resorts in the area of Los Angeles where colored people were allowed and could safely. Other beachfront properties were considered ‘whites-only.’
But the couple faced constant harassment from the white supremacist group, Ku Klux Klan, that is still going strong in many parts of the US. They resented their success and prevented Blacks from visiting the property.
The administration too got into the act and in 1924, the Beach City Council of Manhattan made use of eminent domain to deprive the family of the property for a pittance, and created a park in its place.
The property eventually passed on to California. The property was handed over by the state to Los Angeles County, but with the condition that it would not be sold or given away.
This method of expropriating Black assets was common across the US in the 19th and into the middle of the 20th centuries, though it has continued in a subtler form until much later. It added to the wealth inequity that continues to this day. The damages they received would not have amounted to even a quarter of a million today according to the New York Times.
Governor Gavin Newsom said that it was evident that the entrepreneurial energy was alive in the Bruce family. They had the persistence, grit, and determination that brought them success. He said that they were present to compensate for the loss the family suffered.