Transcript for Process begins to return California beach to descendants nearly a century later
Back now on "Gma" and the efforts to right a wrong from nearly a century ago. Officials in Los Angeles county are taking steps to return scenic Manhattan beach property that was seized from a black family and ABC's zohreen shah is right there this morning. Zohreen, good morning to you. Reporter: Good morning, Dan. A family bought this land about 100 years ago for under two grand. They were one of Manhattan beach's first black land owners until that land was taken away. This is a massive space. We are right by the beach. By some estimates it's worth about $75 million. Now the county is trying to right this wrong. This morning, L.A. County taking the first steps toward correcting a centuries old injustice. We will change the state law to allow the family to get their land back from L.A. County. Reporter: In 1912, Willa and Charles Bruce bought the first of two ocean view lots for $1,225. Experts say it could now be worth up to 75 million. This was an injustice inflicted not just upon Willa and Charles Bruce but generations of their descendants who almost certainly would have been millionaires. Reporter: County supervisor Janice Hahn and L.A. County native said she hadn't heard of them until black lives matter protested there last summer. The bruces among the city's first black land owners. They created a beach resort for their community who were barred from local beaches due to segregation. Bruce's beach became a lively and flourishing resort. Reporter: Anthony Bruce is one of the last living descendants of Willa and Charles Bruce. I did hear about this growing up. Reporter: For years Willa, Charles and their guests were targets of relentless racist attacks and harassment from white neighbors and the kkk. That's why we moved away but we didn't move away willingly and that land was stolen from us. Because we would be millionaires today if there's generational wealth that can be transferred or inherited, then there should be also generational debt that should be incurred and taken care of too. Reporter: In 1929, the city took the property by eminent domain citing the need for a public park but for decades it sat empty. Today's the lifeguard training headquarters sits on the Bruce's property. I want people to take away from this that there is justice and you have to pursue it and your family can find peace for some of the wrongs committed against them in the past. Reporter: And there's still a lot of bumps on the road. One relative reportedly upset because the city has not formally apologized. Another anonymous group opposes the transfer saying it's only happening because Manhattan beach falsely is being accused of being a racist city. Dan. Quite a story, zohreen, thank you very much.
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