Milton V. Bergstedt, AIA
Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota
Civil rights advocacy, community development
A devoted civil rights activist since the 1940s, Milton V. Bergstedt, AIA, was honored with the Whitney Young Award for what the nomination committee called his “assaulting the barriers of prejudice, bigotry, segregated housing, exclusionary employment, and similar evils that prevailed in the United States at the end of the World War II.”
Bergstedt served on the board of the St. Paul Urban League in the 1940s and was president of the St. Paul Council of Human Relations from 1953 to 1954. During those years, he lobbied St. Paul City Council and the Minnesota State Legislature to protect the rights of all citizens. As a result, St. Paul became one of the nation’s first cities to pass a fair employment ordinance. While president of the St. Paul Downtown YMCA Men’s Club in the late 1940s, Bergstedt was successful in eliminating the club’s segregation policy by sponsoring his friend, Whitney M. Young Jr., who was a staff member of the St. Paul Urban League at the time.
A native of St. Paul, Bergstedt received his a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Minnesota in 1931 and then served his apprenticeship under notable area architects such as Edward Lundie, FAIA, and Thomas Ellerbe, FAIA. In 1951, Bergstedt founded the St. Paul firm known today as BWBR Architects to take on numerous community projects and help mentor a new generation of like-minded designers.