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First African Baptist Church

23 Montgomery St., 23 Montgomery St, Savannah, GA 31401 (Downtown)
912 233 6597
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Ranked #8 of 119 attractions in Savannah
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Type: Religious Sites
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... more » 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. « less
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317 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Winston Salem, North Carolina
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
21 attraction reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2014 NEW

I was there on a Sunday morning and services were still being conducted. I only took a short look inside, but just the fact this church is still in use since it was first built in 1859, is enough to warrant a visit and much respect. I gracefully exited and stood outside for the duration. A wonderful experience I truly... More

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Atlanta, GA
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
7 attraction reviews
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2014 NEW

I attended First African Baptist with a girl scout troop on July 13, 2014. The service is a traditional Baptist service, with devotional at the beginning, lots of singing and prayer. Rev. Tillman's delivered an excellent sermon! After the service, we took a tour of the church. What history! The building and some of the pews are original to the... More

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West Palm Beach, FL
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2014 NEW

I had no idea how much history this church has! Very interesting! Every floor, every nook and cranny has an interesting history to it. The (very small) shop has an excellent DVD that is well worth getting.

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Fort Bragg, North Carolina
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2014

Wow.this was a great tour. I enjoyed the information and the use of her imagination.. It was as if I was there during the time that this was going on. You could since their pain but their pride was evident.

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Washington DC
1 review
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2014 via mobile

One of the reasons we chose to vacation in Savannah was the First African Baptist Church. Being familiar with some of the oldest black congregation in the country along the east coast, I was truly excited to visit what had been described as the first. Unfortunately, I was sadly disappointed. The tour guide, Lydia, preceded to cite endless facts (which... More

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Marion, Indiana
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
7 attraction reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2014

Lots of history in this church. A centerpiece of the Underground Railroad and Civil Rights movement.

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Savannah, Georgia
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
12 attraction reviews
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 11, 2014

Thank you Karen , you bring history to life. I can't wait to read your book, Ms Wortham is the best.

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Latta, South Carolina
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2014

We were not aware of this church before our visit but it was so full of Savannah history! They have daily tours here at 11 am and 2pm, which we did not know but just happened to go to look at the church about 2 pm. Lydia gave us lots of information about the history of the church. We were... More

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Indianapolis, Indiana
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
5 attraction reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2014

The tour guide did a great job, it was nice getting to see a part of History. The stories about the church really made you think about that time era.

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Richmond, Virginia
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
10 attraction reviews
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2014

We can to visit to get a tour but we got turn down. This is where the slaves were held in the basement. I think there is a fee too if u are planning a visit to this church. I truly was very disappointed.

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