Two particular events had a significant impact on the establishment of the Oregon Assembly for Black Affairs. They are the 1975 CALMAX SYMPOSIUM: “The Status of Blacks in Oregon” and the January 22, 1977 Call-To-Action Leadership Conference. These events were held by the Calmax Corporation, owned by Calvin O. L. Henry.
The CALMAX SYMPOSIUM recognized that the economic and political climate of the United States made it imperative that Black people begin to examine where they were in 1975. It acknowledged the fact we were experiencing a Second Reconstruction Era where Blacks were not involved politically and were constantly losing job opportunities. It noted the observation that most people in Oregon seem to have written off Blacks in Oregon as a viable, political group which is willing to address its problems in Oregon. The CALMAX SYMPOSIUM recognized that “understanding the status of Blacks in Oregon is a critical step in the process of averting another era of economic and political losses.” It addressed the need for Blacks to come together to make a written assessment of the status of Blacks in Oregon.
On August 23-24, 1975, thirty-five Blacks attended the CALMAX SYMPOSIUM which was held at Nendel’s Inn, Corvallis, Oregon. These Blacks heard and discussed six papers on the status of Blacks in Oregon. The following papers were presented: “Junction for Deliberation” by J.M. Gates (Mrs. Osly J. Gates); “The Need for Political Maturity and Activism Among Blacks in Oregon” by Calvin O. L. Henry; “Modern Bondage: From Iron Shackles to Invisible Shackles” by Sylvia Gates; “A Proposal for the Development of Information Systems in the Black Community” by William M. Harris;
“Like the Sound of Crickets in a Tropical Rain Forest---Homogeneity Persists” by Wilbert Gamble; and “Un-Unified” by David A. 24X Davis and William M. Pollard (in absentia).
On January 22, 1977, the first Call-To-Action Leadership Conference was held at Willamette University, Salem, Oregon. This conference was organized by Calvin O. L. Henry. The purpose of this conference was twofold which was (1) to examine the Oregon Legislative process to determine how it affects Blacks in Oregon and to decide ways in how Blacks could impact it, and (2) to scrutinize the plight of Blacks in Oregon to determine directions which should be taken, and to decide course of action that could be collectively taken.