CBS/AP October 3, 2018, 7:27 AM On Africa tour, Melania Trump visits ex-slave holding facility in Ghana

First lady Melania Trump tours a former slave holding facility on the coast of Ghana on Wednesday, October 3, 2018.


First lady Melania Trump visited a former slave holding facility on the coast of Ghana on the second day of her Africa tour, one of dozens of "slave castles" still standing that were used in the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

On Wednesday the first lady toured Cape Coast Castle, a 17th-century facility in the seaside town of Cape Coast built by the Swedes to trade in timber and gold but became a place where slaves were held until they could be shipped out through a "Door of No Return." A regional minister asked permission on the first lady's behalf to visit the historic castle, as is a cultural formality in Ghana.

Mrs. Trump told reporters on the trip "this is a very special place."

"I will never forget the stories…really, really touching. The dungeons, what happened so many years ago. It's really a tragedy," she said. The first lady laid a wreath and signed a guestbook at the castle, where she told reporters she wrote "thank you for your warm welcome. With love, Melania Trump."

Former President Barack Obama and his family toured the castle in 2009. Mr. Obama said it was a reminder of "the capacity of human beings to commit great evil."

Earlier the first lady visited Emintsimadze Palace for a formal welcoming ceremony. The event was a historic one as the king invited two disabled students, one visually impaired and one deaf, from a nearby school to attend the ceremony with the first lady. Disabled people are not traditionally allowed onto palace grounds in the region, but the king felt strongly the children should be involved in the event, according to embassy officials.

Mrs. Trump is touring Africa on her first extended solo international trip as first lady. She has stops planned in Malawi, Kenya and Egypt.