WASHINGTON (AFP) - Key dates in the history of African-Americans in the United States: " 1619: The first African slaves are landed in the English colony of Virginia. Slavery is to become a key motor in the development of what will become the United States. " 1776: American patriots declare independence from Britain in a quarrel over taxes. But there is no dispute over slavery, which is even practised by the new country's first president, George Washington. " Early 19th century: Slavery and the slave trade are gradually abandoned by most European states. " 1861-65: Slavery, widespread in the Confederate South but generally opposed in the North, is the main issue behind the American Civil War, which ends with victory for the North. " 1865: The 13th amendment to the constitution formally abolishes slavery. The Ku Klux Klan, a violent white supremacist secret society, is founded. " 1896: A Supreme Court ruling authorizes racial segregation, a widespread practice in the southern states. Saying the races may be "separate but equal," the ruling allows so-called "Jim Crow" discrimination laws. " 1909: Foundation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). " 1941-45: African-Americans fight for the United States in World War II, but generally in separate units. " 1949: A presidential decree formally ends segregation in the armed forces. " 1954: The Supreme Court outlaws segregation in schools. " 1955: A black civil rights activist, Rosa Parks, sparks a mass movement by refusing to give up her seat to a white person in an Alabama bus. Rise to prominence of Martin Luther King, a charismatic civil rights leader. " 1957: Congress enacts the Civil Rights Act, guaranteeing all black people the right to vote. But it remains a dead letter in many southern states. " 1960: An amendment to the Civil Rights Act introducing penalties for anyone who obstructed someone's attempt to register to vote or vote. " 1963: At the apogee of the civil rights movement, which has seen serious violence is many parts of the country, Martin Luther King addresses 200,000 people in Washington, DC. "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin," he declares. " 1966: Radical activists in California found the Black Panther Party. " 1968: Martin Luther King is assassinated, and race riots shake the country. Athletes taking part in the Olympic Games in Mexico give "black power" salutes. " 1989: Colin Powell becomes the first African-American to head the US armed forces. He goes on to become the first black secretary of state. " 1992: Race riots sparked by the beating of a black motorist by police leave at least 59 people dead in Los Angeles. " 1995: A rally organized by the Nation of Islam attracts some 800,000 African American men to Washington. " 2005: Condoleezza Rice becomes the first black woman to serve as secretary of state. " 2008: Illinois senator Barack Obama becomes the first African-American to be formally nominated by a major US party as its presidential candidate.