Martin Luther King. Photo By Minnesota Historical Society

IT IS hailed as one of the most inspirational speeches of all time.

But Martin Luther King did not originally intend to make his “I have a dream” speech because he was “bored” with it.

The civil rights activist had given the speech up to 20 times already while on the US circuit, so instead he had prepared a new one called “The cancelled cheque”, about the morally bankrupt state.

But when it received little enthusiasm from the 250,000 watching in Washington on August 28, 1963, King instead broke into his famous speech “off the cuff”.

The anecdote was revealed by Tony Blair’s former speechwriter, Philip Collins, who described the original decision as “the greatest misjudgment in all of speech history”.

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Speaking at the Chalke Valley History Festival, sponsored by the Daily Mail, Mr Collins said:

“What you get then is five minutes of total magic, when King from memory conjures up with perfect recall lots of biblical verses, lots of biblical cadences. He takes you on a journey through America, and it’s just remarkable. And it’s even more remarkable because he has no script.”

King’s speech during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom became a defining moment of the civil rights movement.

But Mr Collins said it could well have been different were it not for the “astonishingly brilliant” moment in which he suddenly changed tack after failing to light up his audience and then being urged to switch to the “I have a dream” speech by the gospel singer Mahalia Jackson.

© Daily Mail

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