WHAT WE DID: 2/10

  • SEVENTH GRADE ENGLISH
    • Students turned in the Article of the Week
    • Vocabulary Quiz over Unit 6 Greek & Latin
    • Continue working on rough draft of ode
  • HONORS ENGLISH 8
      • Students turned in the Article of the Week
      • Vocabulary Quiz over Unit 9 Greek & Latin
      • Continue working on rough draft seen/unseen activity
    • HOMEWORK
      • Take-home essay due Wednesday, February 15th
  • ENGLISH 8
    • Students turned in the Article of the Week
    • Vocabulary Quiz over Unit 7 Greek & Latin
    • Continue working on rough draft seen/unseen activity

CELEBRATING BLACK HISTORY MONTH WITH NOTABLE ANGELENOS

Bruce’s Beach

Willa Bruce and her husband, Charles, purchased land in Manhattan Beach, California, in 1912, and established a small resort for African-American beachgoers. It became known as “Bruce’s Beach.” There was a bathhouse, a lodge, a dance hall, dining options, and spaces for outdoor recreation.

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“They brought a lot of joy to people,” Jefferson says.

But many residents in Manhattan Beach were opposed to the Bruces’ resort, filing complaints with the city. The landowner next door enlisted constables to patrol his property. He claimed he owned the shoreline and put up ropes to block access to the water from Bruce’s Beach, forcing visitors to walk nearly a mile down the coast in order to wade into the ocean.

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“From day one, there was resistance to [Willa Bruce] opening her business,” Jefferson says.

The city eventually passed an ordinance prohibiting public bathhouses along the beach—including the Bruces’, which at the time was the only public bathhouse in the area. The city later passed ordinances prohibiting people from changing their clothes in their cars or in tents.

“So they were trying to make it pretty difficult for the African-Americans at Bruce’s Beach,” Jefferson says. “There was nowhere for them to go to the bathroom or eat or change clothes.”

In the mid-1920s, citing a desire to build a public park on the land, the city took the Bruces’ property through eminent domain. There were protests, and a group of African-Americans organized a “wade-in.” But to no avail—Bruce’s Beach was no more. The resort was razed, or torn down. The land remained vacant for the next three decades and changed names a few times before the park was finally built.

Head to this section of Manhattan Beach today, and you’ll find a sign marking the area as “Bruce’s Beach” once again. There’s also a plaque detailing the site’s history—though, Jefferson says, the plaque has inaccuracies. These efforts came after city of Manhattan Beach voted to rename the beach back in 2006. A dedication ceremony was held in 2007.

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