They stood in the doorway together, mother and daughter, gazing out at the expanse of ocean _ as scores of mothers and daughters did ages ago in fear, sorrow and chains.
However, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton turned around Monday at the "Door of No Return," unconcerned about traders who would shoot them if they refused to board waiting slave ships.
Nor were they threatened by a horrible journey aboard a cramped ship or by slavery that would force them apart, sending them to plantations in America.
"I cannot even imagine what that would be like," Mrs. Clinton said. She stood in the courtyard of a 221-year-old house where captured Africans were weighed, chained, separated according to their value and herded into captivity.
"That door represents nothing less than the depths of human depravity," she said. "It is a reminder, always, of what human beings can do to one another."
This house, Maison des Escalaves (Slave House), was her first stop on a six-nation tour of Africa. She said she wanted to see the heartbreak of Goree, a hub of the slave trade for 300 years, because of its meaning to African-Americans. An estimated 20-million people were taken into slavery.
"Millions of African-Americans claim their roots in West Africa, through Goree Island," she told students.
She said the president asked her to stress that engagement with Africa should be measured in the potential of its people. She added that her goal was to persuade Americans to see Africa as more than a land of crisis and conflict.
_ Information from Washington Post was used in this report.