The president toured Cape Coast Castle with his wife Michelle, and their daughters Malia and Sasha. The castle, about 100 miles west of Accra, was built by Europeans as a gold and timber depot and later converted to a holding pen for slaves about to be shipped to the Americas.
"It is reminiscent of the trip I took to Buchenwald because it reminds us of the capacity of human beings to commit great evil," Obama said in brief remarks after the tour that referenced the death camp that was part of Nazi Germany's efforts to exterminate Jews and other ethnic minorities they deemed undesirable.
"One of the most striking things that I heard was that right above the dungeons in which male captives were kept was a church, and that reminds us that sometimes we can tolerate and stand by great evil even as we think that we're doing good."
Obama said his daughters, "who are growing up in such a blessed way," learned of the "cruel turns" history takes. He added that for African-Americans the castle is a place of "profound sadness" but also the place where their unique history began.