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Bush at "The DoorOf No Return"
*On this date in 2003, President George W. Bush publicly said, "American slavery was one of history's greatest crimes."
He spoke from Goree Island, Senegal, which for several centuries was a processing station for African slaves bound in chains for the Western Hemisphere. He said, "At this place, liberty and life were stolen and sold. Human beings were delivered and sorted, and weighed, and branded with the marks of commercial enterprises and loaded as cargo on a voyage without return. One of the largest migrations of history was also one of the greatest crimes of history."
His public statement began a five-nation tour of Africa and was made from the spot where millions of Africans were bought and sold as cargo. Bush also spoke toward sending U.S. troops to help end a three-year civil war in Liberia, a western African nation founded by freed American slaves. Bush was also touring the continent to promote his economic development and AIDS initiatives and to gain cooperation in stopping the spread of terrorism.
The president, traveling with first lady Laura Bush and their daughter, Barbara, left Senegal on Africa's northwest coast and headed for South Africa, Botswana, Uganda, and Nigeria, all stable democracies and important U.S. allies in the war on terrorism.