In honor of Juneteenth The Nordly is looking back on pivotal moments in MN Black History, starting with the story of David Jensenn and Malik Adbul Muhammad, two friends who made history when one of them became the first white friend to be kindly asked to leave a Junteenth celebration.
The year was 1970, The Odd Couple was one of the top sitcoms on the air, but at the U of M Campus one odd couple was gearing to have a tense moment.
“The department of Afro-American Studies had just been created the year before and they needed volunteers for the Juneteenth Celebration”, said Malik Abdul Muhammad, pH.d (formerly known as Roger Washington III) in his home office. “Quite a lot of White hippies volunteered and we the Black Student Body said no to most of them but my roommate David was very persistent and I thought he might stop talking about Woodstock if he saw some real culture. He did not.”
David Jensen, then a senior at the U of M, had gone to Woodstock the previous summer.
“I had both lost my virginity and had my first psychedelic experience at Woodstock,” Jensen told us in his Lake house in Minnetonka. “I wasn’t like other people after that, I was different…also my dorm mate Roger was a Black”.
Under the influence of many psychedelics and confidence obtained through generational wealth Jensenn volunteered for the Juneteenth Celebration and was immediately out of his element, going into passionate yet unnecessary speeches about peace, drugs, and all the sex he had the previous summer instead of doing anything he was tasked to do for the celebration of Black Freedom.
“He’s going on and on about Jimi Hendrix being the one true god and having sex on a muddy ass hill”, Muhammad said while showing a black and white picture of Jensen throwing the black power fist around a group of upset Black students. “We literally just needed him to help get ice”.
It was at this moment that an embarrassed Muhammad made history on the U of M Campus.
“He’s in the zone, doin his best Martin Luther King and Huey P. Newton impressions, I go up to him and say ‘you gotta go back to the dorm with that hippie shit, You’re pissing everyone off’.”
Embarassed, Jensen quietly yet awkwardly went back to his dorm and listened to The Grateful Dead on repeat for 8 hours until Muhammad returned, causing a deep riff between the two.
“I had never been embarrassed like that in my life,” Jensen told us While wearing a COEXIST T-shirt and sitting in front of a Ted Nugent poster. “To be humiliated in front of my Black brothers like that…I finally knew what racism felt like.”
This small moment started a long tradition of asking well meaning whites to politely leave Juneteenth Celebrations when they had worn out their welcome, creating an important test of allyship that white people continue to fail to this day.