The Washington Post is reporting that the Obamas visited the “Door of No Return” on Senegal’s Goree Island Thursday afternoon and looked at the Atlantic Ocean from the same vantage point that African slaves once had on their way to North America.
The United States’ first African American president was then joined by his wife, first lady Michelle Obama. Their daughters, Malia and Sasha, also took a turn. And the president returned for another brief glimpse before turning to continue his tour of the island, according to an account provided by reporters at the scene.
A photo of the moment shows the president wearing khaki pants and a white dress shirt, sleeves rolled partially up his arms, as he gazes at the ocean. He was later spotted asking questions of the tour guide, Eloi Coly, who showed the family around the former slave house, which now stands as a museum.
Speaking to reporters afterward, Obama called the tour a “very powerful moment” that helped him “fully appreciate the magnitude of the slave trade” and “get a sense in an intimate way” of the hardships slaves faced.
The trip was a reminder that “we have to remain vigilant when it comes to the defense of human rights,” Obama said. “This is a testament to when we’re not vigilant in defense of human rights what can happen. Obviously, for an African American, an African American president, to be able to visit this site, gives me even greater motivation in terms of human rights around the world.”
Read more at the Washington Post.