Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn said Friday that it is time for the U.S. to “make amends” with black families in America by returning land their ancestors owned which was taken from them.
Hahn, who recently announced this month that she would give back land black owners lost through eminent domain to their descendants, added other governments outside of Los Angeles should follow her lead.
“I think this is the first time in our nation that a government has given land back to an African American family to make amends for past discrimination and atrocities and policies that were enacted, that really limited African Americans’ ability to own businesses, to own property, to even buy homes in certain neighborhoods,” she told TMZ on Friday.
“This is a very small step towards what I think this whole country should be doing — and that is working to repair and to make amends with the African Americans in this country,” she added.
The land Hahn is referencing is a beachfront plot in the Manhattan Beach neighborhood of Los Angeles, which the owners lost through eminent domain in 1924.
The plot is now worth about $72 million. Homes along the beachfront regularly sell for $20 million, according to a real estate broker’s listings website.
The owners, Willa and Charles Bruce, purchased the land in 1912 and created a beach resort catering to black clients before the city used eminent domain to seize the property.
The land was dormant for decades until the city built a park in 1960 and later renamed it Bruce’s Beach. Descendants of Willa and Charles Bruce sued, claiming the eminent domain program was racially motivated.