The above piece was written originally as one unbroken paragraph excerpted from a glorious speech by the immortal Frederick Douglass, which can be read in its entirety at http://haitiforever.com/windowsonhaiti/fdouglass1.shtml . This segment was edited in its present form by me in July 1998.Until she spoke, no Christian nation had abolished Negro slavery.
Until she spoke, no Christian nation had given to the world an organized effort to abolish slavery.
Until she spoke, the slave ship, followed by hungry sharks, greedy to devour the dead and dying slaves flung overboard to feed them, ploughed in peace the South Atlantic, painting the sea with the Negro's blood.
Until she spoke, the slave trade was sanctioned by all the Christian nations of the world, and our land of liberty and light included. Men made fortunes by this infernal traffic, and were esteemed as good Christians, and the standing types and representations of the Savior of the World.
Until Haiti spoke, the church was silent, and the pulpit was dumb. Slave-traders lived and slave-traders died. Funeral sermons were preached over them, and of them it was said that they died in the triumphs of the Christian faith and went to heaven among the just.
In July 1998, I excerpted that paragraph and formatted it like a poem for my website, Windows on Haiti. The readers must have truly appreciated it because “it” took off like wildfire. Every word is from Frederick Douglass, of course, but FD had never conceived that those words would be presented in that fashion. Even President Aristide fell for it in his speech to the nation on Bicentennial Day, 1/1/2004. He said: "As Frederick Douglass wrote in his poem about Haiti..." I was listening to the speech, live, and I was stunned! There NEVER was a poem entitled "Until She Spoke" (at least not until I made it so!)
Windows on Haiti was published on April 20 1998 and therefore this was one of the first few documents I presented on the site. Here's the formatting that I used in July of that year: http://haitiforever.com/windowsonhaiti/fd19.shtml . Little did I know that I was going to change the History of African-American Literature !