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First African Baptist Church

Certificate of Excellence
Neighborhood: Downtown
Religious sites, Sights & Landmarks
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Address: 23 Montgomery Street, Savannah, GA 31401
Phone Number: +1 912-233-6597
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Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Fee: Yes
Activities: Group tours/walking tour
Description: 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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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

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Most recent review
Everyone should visit

A WONDERFUL experience! Truly a church full of life changing facts! This would be a wonderful opportunity to take children and teens to learn about African American history. Truly... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed February 18, 2015
Allison W
via mobile
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369 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
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English first
2 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2015 via mobile

A WONDERFUL experience! Truly a church full of life changing facts! This would be a wonderful opportunity to take children and teens to learn about African American history. Truly fundamental to the soul.

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Port Ewen, New York
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
7 attraction reviews
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2015

Very interesting to learn the history of how it was built, by whom and its role in the underground railroad. Was definitely able to feel the history and African-American struggle for justice, equality and freedom.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Arlington, Texas
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2015

Great Service and very friendly people. This church is beautiful witha incredible flair for African American history.

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Columbia, South Carolina
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 8, 2015

I was amazed by the history that I learned when we visited. The church is kept in very good condition, and is in the heart of many other Savannah attractions.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 3, 2015

I really enjoyed our tour and was fascinated by the history of the church. Our tour guide told vivid stories of the founders and what life was like back in that time. It really amazed me the efforts and devotions that were put into building the church and its congregation. The sanctuary has its own history told through it's stained... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Birmingham, Alabama
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2015

A lot of history in this church. The holes in the basement floor that provided air pockets for those in the Underground Railroad was the highlight of the visit.

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Saint Louis, Missouri
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
5 attraction reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2015

The church is beautiful. However, my children and I were most excited and humbled to learn of the important part this Historic site played in the Underground Railroad. It was an honor to see the quilted map that hung in the lower level that was used to guide those on their road to freedom. One could even see the holes... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Texas
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2015

We visited and lucked out when we got to meet a docent who took us around on an impromptu private tour. She was beyond gracious and gave us a wealth of information.

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Sao Paulo, SP
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
11 attraction reviews
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2015

Wonderful but I cannot enter cause it was closed. The building is great. I recommended and I will return

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Shelburne, Canada
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
6 attraction reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 2015

The church is wonderful, but the stories and the history of those who built it, the underground railway, the early struggles….these are wonderful to hear during the tour. Very powerful. If you do no other tour, do this one!

Was this review helpful? Yes 1

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