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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 #9 of 121 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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324 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
Union, New Jersey
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2014 NEW

Savannah is historic but to learn about how much of that history was built on the backs of black people, you should take the Day Clean tour with Jamal.

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San Francisco, CA
Top Contributor
84 reviews 84 reviews
7 attraction reviews
97 helpful votes 97 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 25, 2014 NEW

If you want a taste of America you really should go to this church. It is low tech, no bells and whistles or interactive computer images, color coordinated diplays and so forth. If you want that--go elsewhere.What you will find is a place of great spirit, of a human touch, and a heartfelt depiction of what this church has meant... More

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2 reviews
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 16, 2014 via mobile

I was somewhat disappointed with this tour. The chronology of the church's inception and it's role in Savannah's African American community was very interesting. But the tour fell flat when the moderator began to "speculate"about the church's significance in The Underground Railroad. More facts and less speculation would make this tour a lot more enjoyable.

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warner robins, ga, United States
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2014

the tour guide was very knowledgeable and shared lots of information. my family and I took a lot of pictures inside. one of the oldest pianos were still there. there were some very old benches inside with a lot of history.

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Chicago, Illinois
Top Contributor
59 reviews 59 reviews
18 attraction reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 4, 2014

I'm a teacher and I learned a lot. The tour costs $7.00 and we were lucky to have a church choir visiting and they sang a song.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Daytona Beach, Florida, United States
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
5 attraction reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 4, 2014

I enjoy visiting churches because they say a lot about the people and culture. This church was built by slaves for themselves. Parts of the church have been added on a few years later, the balcony was added in the late 1800s. My daughter sat at the near century old Steinway piano and played. There is an interesting room/office downstairs... More

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Oakland, California
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 4, 2014

What should have been a memorable and educational experience for my 11 year old daughter is now a memory of embarrassment . While our tour guide Lydia was very knowledgable (however too much speculative info) her over zealousness and badgering of a child was uncalled for. My daughter was the only child in our tour group of about 20. Lydia... More

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Winston Salem, North Carolina
Top Contributor
64 reviews 64 reviews
27 attraction reviews
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2014

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

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

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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