Press Releases

The Fight for Justice, Reparations and Bruce’s Beach


Contact: Rebecca Vandall

Washington, DC – February 7, 2022:  In celebration of Black History Month, The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) released the video The Fight for Justice, Reparations and Bruce’s Beach to provide insight into how the use of eminent domain can be used in a discriminatory manner, and what can be done to help families fight for heirs property reparations. The video is part of the College’s informational series Planning for a Diverse and Equitable Future, a project of ACTEC’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity Committee, funded by The ACTEC Foundation.

In 1912, Black entrepreneurs Charles and Willa Bruce purchased a beachfront property in Manhattan Beach, California, “Bruce’s Beach,” which included a dance hall and café, and was a favorite destination resort for Black families. In 1927, eminent domain was used by the city to seize the property with the plan to create a park. With increased national awareness and the Black Lives Matter movement, a renewed demand for justice propelled the issue into the state and national discussion. On September 30, 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill No. 796, which cleared the path for the Bruce’s heirs to have the property returned to them.

ACTEC Fellow Terrence M. Franklin moderates a discussion with George C. Fatheree III, a real estate attorney with Sidley Austin, LLP, and Kavon Ward, a land-rights activist and co-founder of “Where is my Land,” to discuss the actions they are taking to help descendants of the Bruce’s win reparations. This case was instrumental in bringing awareness to the Bruce’s Beach injustice, racial discrimination, and land rights into the national conversation.

For further information about ACTEC’s Planning for a Diverse and Equitable Future series, please visit

About The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC): Established in 1949, The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) is a national, nonprofit association of approximately 2,400 lawyers and law professors from throughout the United States and abroad. ACTEC members (Fellows) are peer-elected on the basis of professional reputation and expertise in the preparation of wills and trusts, estate planning, probate, trust administration and related practice areas. The College’s mission includes the improvement and reform of probate, trust and tax laws and procedures and professional practice standards. ACTEC frequently offers technical comments with regard to legislation and regulations but does not take positions on matters of policy or political objectives.

About The ACTEC Foundation:  The ACTEC Foundation is the philanthropic arm of The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel or ACTEC. The Foundation is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) that offers education to families and professionals and supports students interested in the trust and estate area of the law. Through continued financial support, The ACTEC Foundation offers professional development, scholarships and education for a number of important efforts, including legal education, educational support, public initiatives, legal publications and the student editorial board.

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