A tale of two reckonings: How should Manhattan Beach atone for its racist past?

March 28, 2021

For months, Manhattan Beach has wrestled with an uncomfortable truth: The city once seized a Black family’s oceanfront resort and ran an entire community of Black beachgoers out of town.

A task force was formed. An apology drafted. But residents of this very white town have pushed back on the notion that they must atone for injustices committed almost a century ago.

“We do not want to ignore the past, but we do not want it embroidered in a scarlet R upon our chest,” said Mayor Suzanne Hadley, in response to numerous emails and hours of testimonies from people worried that the renewed controversy over Bruce’s Beach has marked the city as racist.

But as the city’s inaction captured more headlines and ignited greater calls for justice, one Los Angeles County official stepped in and did what she said felt obvious: apologizing to the Bruce family and agreeing that the land should be returned.

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