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First African Baptist Church

Certificate of Excellence
Neighborhood: Downtown
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Address: 23 Montgomery Street, Savannah, GA 31401
Phone Number: +1 912-233-6597
Website
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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Great perspective of the Church

I found our stop for the church tour to be very informative and insightful. Our guide shared the history of the church and the early leadership and the role the church played in... read more

4 of 5 starsReviewed March 29, 2015
John C
,
Carterville, Illinois
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378 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
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English first
Carterville, Illinois
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
8 attraction reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2015 NEW

I found our stop for the church tour to be very informative and insightful. Our guide shared the history of the church and the early leadership and the role the church played in the lives of the slaves that lived in Savannah and the surrounding area.

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Washington DC, District of Columbia
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
7 attraction reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2015 NEW

The tour at this church was a highlight of our trip to Savannah. After wandering through the beautiful streets of the city and admiring the architecture, it was sobering to visit a place with a completely different history from what Savannah is best known for. The story of the African American experience in Savannah, both slave and free, through the... More 

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Cincinnati, Ohio
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
7 attraction reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2015 NEW

The history and stories shared in the visit to the 1st AABC was invaluable. Both from a historical perspective, and well as a cultural connection.

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Tallahassee, Florida
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
7 attraction reviews
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2015 NEW

Never stop learning. I've learned a great deal on African American history from this tour. The fact that the sanctuary has functioned for a hundred plus years is amazing. The church was built by slaves with their bare hands and with whatever tools that were available to them in that era. The construction details were very thought out. One did... More 

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Annapolis, Maryland, United States
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
6 attraction reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 22, 2015

This place and it's story are a most interesting piece of American history...presented by people who are related in a present day extension of our country's struggles with race relations, with an attitude of achieving harmony among all. A very positive experience !!!

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Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 attraction reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 21, 2015

The knowledge that is held within these walls is amazing. Being the first church for African Americans and being built by slaves is a amazing testimony to the strength of the people. Many of the fixtures and structure are still original waiting to be restored. The architecture is stillstanding and many peices are over 200 years old. A must see!!!

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Endicott, New York
Top Contributor
101 reviews 101 reviews
18 attraction reviews
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2015

It was just nice to learn a little about the less publicized part of The Deep South. Neat story that caused us to pause and reflect on what we are and how we got here.

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New York City, New York
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
6 attraction reviews
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2015

Another of Savannah's interesting sites, fabulous tour! Stayed in Savannah an extra night to be able to take the morning tour of the Church...Best decision we made! Attended the brief and informative lecture while seated on the pews in the main church foyer. Then went in to the basement and listened as our knowledgeable and enthusiastic tour guide told us... More 

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Boston, Massachusetts
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
22 attraction reviews
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2015

We attended the Sunday service at 10:00 AM. What a warm greeting we received! A special experience to worship in the oldest Black church.

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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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