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First African Baptist Church

Certificate of Excellence
Neighbourhood: Downtown
Sponsored by:
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Address: 23 Montgomery Street, Savannah, GA 31401
Phone Number:
+1 912-233-6597
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Fee: Yes

First African Baptist Church was organized in 1773 under the leadership of...

First African Baptist Church was organized in 1773 under the leadership of Reverend George Leile and established and constituted in December of 1777 as a body organized believers. Under the leadership of the 3rd Pastor Reverend Andrew C. Marshall, the congregation obtained the property where the present sanctuary stands. Marshall also organized the first black Sunday school in North America and changed the name of the church from “First Colored Baptist” to “First African Baptist”. The sanctuary was completed in 1859 under the direction of the 4th Pastor Reverend William J. Campbell. The ceiling of the church is in the design of a “Nine Patch Quilt” which represented that the church was a safe house for slaves. Beneath the lower auditorium floor is another finished sub floor which is known as the “Underground Railroad”. There is 4ft of height between both floors. The holes in the floor are in the shape of an African prayer symbol known as a Congolese Cosmogram that served a purpose of ventilation. First African Baptist Church has been a place of leadership and service since its inception. Reverend Emmanuel King Love, 6th Pastor, led the movement to establish Savannah State University, formerly known as Georgia State Industrial College for Colored Youth. Rev. Love also played a big role in the establishment of Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA and Paine College in Augusta, GA. During the time of segregation the church served as the largest gathering place for blacks and whites to meet. Visitors from all walks of life have visited out sanctuary and left inspired. TOUR RATES: Adults = $7.00; Seniors = $6.00; Students = $6.00; Children Ages 5 & Under = FREE. TOUR HOURS OF OPERATION: Tuesday - Saturday = 11:00 a.m. & 2:00p.m. Sunday = 1:00p.m.

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Savannah Black History Tour
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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 626 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 477
  • 102
    Very good
  • 26
  • 5
  • 7
Such an amazing church

this tour is a must see. It is fascinating learning about how the church was built and the different men that pastored there. the church is rich with african history and is... read more

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 2 days ago
Wichita, Kansas
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626 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 617: English reviews
Wichita, Kansas
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 attraction reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

this tour is a must see. It is fascinating learning about how the church was built and the different men that pastored there. the church is rich with african history and is still a pilar in the community. It is a must see

Thank ebony0119
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

An experience that was enlightening, histotical, sad, meaningful. The guide was excelent and helped recreate the terrible events of the underground railway that brought slaves from the south to the north, He brought those days alive and we actually felt in the presence of those unfortunate souls. The building is an understatement of simplicity and reverence.

Thank Kurt R
San Antonio, Texas
Level Contributor
37 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 days ago NEW

We took the 1:00 pm tour on Sunday (they also offer two on Saturday). You can sign up on-line, but we just walked in. We entered the church via the glass door on the left side of the church and met in the basement. Tour was $7 per person and lasted about 75 minutes. The tour guide was energetic, informative,... More 

1 Thank yalibrarian
Miami, Florida
Level Contributor
19 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

The Starting point of the slaves underground railroad. It was the first Afro -American religious congregation in the South.

Thank Sobreviviente
Bridgeport, Connecticut
Level Contributor
66 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

We didn't get to go inside, but it's worth seeing and learning about this, this oldest black church in America. A tour guide (Footprints of Savannah, reviewed separately) gave us the history. It's interesting to note that this was the church for slaves, the Second African Baptist Church, across town, was for the free blacks. Fascinating, and interwoven with the... More 

Thank ZeeVenturer
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
16 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

The history of this church is astonishing. Established in 1773, built from 1855-9 by slaves. It's still a thriving church. Our tour guide, Joe, was a humorous guide. The church was built by slaves and was a stop on the underground railroad. This is a not to be missed stop for any American history buff.

Thank Mardi_JF
Leeds, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
23 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 weeks ago

We were made very welcome when we attended the birthday celebrations.The service lasted for two hours and there were guest vocalists who had amazing voices and sang from their hearts.

Thank Julia B
Regina, Canada
Level Contributor
126 reviews
48 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 December 2016

It was interesting to learn about the church and the roll it played in the city of Savannah and it's slave history. The church is is subdued compared to many others we've visited. The guide had many stories and congregation appeared to spend their money helping others rather than on statues.

1 Thank Louise100_10
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 December 2016

Super interesting tour- learned a ton about history of this church and Savannah in general. Great way to spend $7.

Thank yanquiloca
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
16 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 November 2016

It was a beautiful church, the stained glass pictures of the african american civil rights leaders was beautiful. It was something to be walking right above the underground railroad!

Thank 822bostonstrong

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