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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
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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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Imagination on your side

It is a simple building...but when you listen to the history behind these walls, your heart might squeeze! All the work the slaves and free black population went through to get... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed April 19, 2015
rbenavides
,
San Jose, Costa Rica
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383 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
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English first
San Jose, Costa Rica
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 attraction reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 19, 2015 NEW

It is a simple building...but when you listen to the history behind these walls, your heart might squeeze! All the work the slaves and free black population went through to get their own place, and the amazing work they still do! Take the guided tour!

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Canada
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
11 attraction reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2015

Fascinating to learn about how the community built its church, and its role in the Underground Railroad. I thought it was neat as well to see something of the church community today. The particular tour guide we had was maybe a little long-winded, and speculative about some of the historical happenings, but it was a valuable and informative experience, definitely... More 

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Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed April 9, 2015

This church is a beautiful representation of slave history in the Savannah area. The church is authentic and little has changed since its inception. The stained glass windows have the.likenesses of the original pastors. That's where the history ends. We were told to use our imaginations about what went on in there. "Accidents" must have happened to the slaves who... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
grande prairie
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
3 attraction reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2015

I've always wanted to go to a Baptist church just for the experience. This church provided everything I wanted. I got a great sermon, and some beautiful singing, overall a perfect Sunday morning.

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Normal, Illinois
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 30, 2015

Some relatives told us about this church and not to miss seeing it. They were right. The tour on the day we were there was at 2:00 and lasted about an hour. The guide was so friendly and informative. The history of the church is amazing and we learned much. The cost of the tour was $7 and was well... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 3
Carterville, Illinois
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
8 attraction reviews
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2015

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
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2015

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 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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

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
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2015

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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