Jackson , 6, and Skylar Blaze, 3, play during a Junteenth picnic at Bruce’s Beach in Manhattan Beach on Friday, June 19, 2020. (Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)

Manhattan Beach’s Bruce’s Beach Task Force will commemorate the final week of Black History Month by retelling the story of one of the first Black families to try to plant roots in the city.

Bruce’s Beach Rediscovered: A Presentation for Black History Month is set for 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, February 25, via Zoom. The presentation will detail how the Bruce family in the 1920s lost their once-thriving resort for Black beachgoers, now a park between Highland Avenue and the Strand; and how their legacy was largely forgotten — and why it all matters today.

Last summer, as the nation had a reckoning with its history of racism and structural discrimination that continues today, Manhattan Beach also began examining its own history. That reflection primarily focused on how overt racism, as well as more subtle forms of discrimination, led the city to push the Bruce family out. Residents, and even some from outside Manhattan Beach, advocated for the city’s current leadership to recognize and make amends for the racist actions of the past, including the underlying reasons their predecessors used eminent domain to take the Bruce family’s land. In August, city staffers gave a presentation to the community that showed the city’s intentions in creating a park on the land — renamed Bruce’s Beach decades later — were racially motivated.

That ultimately led, later that year, to the city forming the Bruce’s Beach Task Force. The group’s mission is to compile a comprehensive history of the Bruces’ experience in Manhattan Beach, as well as to come up with appropriate ways to commemorate the family beyond a plaque that currently welcomes people to the park.

You can access the live presentation via the city’s website.

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