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First African Baptist Church

Address: 23 Montgomery Street, Savannah, GA 31401 (Downtown)
Phone Number: +1 912-233-6597
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$40*
and up
94%
Ranked #7 of 107 Attractions in Savannah
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Type: Religious Sites, Sights & Landmarks
Activities: Group tours/walking tour
Fee: Yes
Owner description: First African Baptist Church was organized in 1773 under the...
More attraction details
Attraction details
Type: Religious Sites, Sights & Landmarks
Activities: Group tours/walking tour
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Owner description: 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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364 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Birmingham, Alabama
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2015 NEW

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
2 helpful votes 2 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 

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Texas
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 attraction reviews
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
9 helpful votes 9 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
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 attraction reviews
3 helpful votes 3 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!

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Manassas va
Top Contributor
210 reviews 210 reviews
94 attraction reviews
87 helpful votes 87 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2015

Maybe I been unfair to the area but it is questionable part of town. Some much history. I have to take a moment and just take it in. The square across from it is very nice...but be careful.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Port Charlotte, Florida
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
5 attraction reviews
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 1, 2015

WE visited this church and it was wonderful. The people made us feel right at home especially since we were not African Americans. It was a great service, good preaching and singing.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Oakland, California
2 reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2014

Very interesting and informative tour. It was amazing to see what was accomplished/built by enslaved Africans during their "free time". The tour guides were friendly, enthusiastic and knowledgeable. Our guide was over enthusiastic at some points. To update a previous review about this issue .....Our tour guide contacted us and was very open to suggestions and feedback . They are... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
San Marcos, CA
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
11 attraction reviews
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2014

Don't miss the free narrated tours. The docents give you a great experience as they tell the story and transport you to another time. I am very glad that I made this tour a part of my Savannah visit.

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Canton, CT
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
4 attraction reviews
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 15, 2014

The tour of the church was great! The guide knew everything about the church and it's amazing history as part of the underground railroad. I highly recommend visiting.

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