Willa told a reporter at the time: "Wherever we have tried to buy land for a beach resort, we have been refused, but I own this land and I am going to keep it."
Over the next decade, Bruce's Beach became a "citadel for African Americans coming there for leisure from all over the rest of southern California," family spokesman Chief Duane Yellow Feather told the BBC last year.
But the local police department put up signs limiting parking to 10 minutes, and another local landowner put up no trespassing signs, forcing people to walk half a mile to reach the water, he said.
When those measured failed to deter visitors, the local authorities seized the land under eminent domain laws - designed to let the government forcibly buy land needed for roads and other public buildings.
Officials claimed they planned to build a park. That did not happen until many decades later, and the area remained vacant in the interim.
On Tuesday, the motion to return the land acknowledged "it is well documented that this move was a racially motivated attempt to drive out the successful black business and its patrons".
The return is the result of a lengthy campaign and difficult process. The beach has for years featured a memorial plaque to Willa and Charles, and the state legislature had to pass a law to allow the return of the property.
Now, the city will lease the land from the family for $413,000 a year - with a clause allowing the future purchase of the land for up to $20m plus costs, according to the lease agreement.
"It destroyed them financially. It destroyed their chance at the American Dream. I wish they could see what has happened today," he said.
"We hope this opens people's eyes to a part of American history that isn't talked about enough, and we think it's a step toward trying to right the wrongs of the past."