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First lady’s first stop in Africa symbolizes link with America

SHARE First lady’s first stop in Africa symbolizes link with America

Hillary Rodham Clinton began a visit to Africa on Monday with a pause at a place that symbolizes America's first relationship with this continent: an embarkation point for Africans sent into slavery.

Upon arriving from Washington before dawn Monday, the first lady said she chose Senegal as her first stop to "underscore the strong bonds of history and culture that link our two nations."In observance of that link, she planned to tour an 18th century slave house on Goree Island, where men and women were herded into the dank holds of ships and spirited away to servitude in North and South America.

"While it evokes bitter memories of the horror of the slave trade, it also bears witness to the strength and resilience of the human spirit," Clinton said. "America has been enriched by the talents of so many people who traced their origins to this region."

Later Monday, Clinton, accompanied by daughter Chelsea, 17, planned to visit the Saam Njaay village and the Martin Luther King School for Girls. She also will meet with Senegalese President Abdou Diouf before departing for South Africa.

The first lady is in Africa on a two-week mission to express the United States' interest in Africa's human capital. During her stay, she will highlight efforts under way here to promote education and health care for women and girls, as well as look into the horrors of genocide and rape as a war crime.