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First African Baptist Church

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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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My favorite part of Savannah

The tour guide was a professor at one of the colleges. It was like taking a crash course in the most interesting history class you never knew existed. The stained glass was way... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed May 26, 2015
Rae93
,
Vancouver, Washington
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398 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
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English first
Vancouver, Washington
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
3 attraction reviews
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 26, 2015 NEW

The tour guide was a professor at one of the colleges. It was like taking a crash course in the most interesting history class you never knew existed. The stained glass was way more interesting than any I've seen in any other church any where else in the world. There are only two days a week that this tour takes... More 

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Las Vegas, Nevada
Top Contributor
263 reviews 263 reviews
123 attraction reviews
85 helpful votes 85 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 26, 2015 NEW

We saw this attraction both driving to it via rental car and then renting rental bikes at Ellis Square through the $5 a day shared bike rental program. Historic and interesting. We did not take a tour of this attraction but were intrigued at the historic site. See via bike and/or car.

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Atlanta, Georgia
Senior Contributor
49 reviews 49 reviews
9 attraction reviews
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 26, 2015 NEW

Intriguing and peaceful. I had wanted to visit the grave of Johnny Mercer. There was a bench near the foot of his gravesite with engravings of his most famous hit song titles. Lots of Spanish moss. Lots of other people taking in the beauty. I snapped photos of statues (angels), monuments. Many of the graves are of famous Georgians/prominent families.... More 

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Locust Grove
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
9 attraction reviews
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 24, 2015 NEW

This is one of the best places I have visited in Savannah. The history and knowledge of this place is awesome. I learned so many things that I never have been able to learn before. I am white and now have so much better understanding and respect now that I visited this beautiful church. I just wish they could get... More 

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New York City, New York
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
8 attraction reviews
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 22, 2015 NEW

To actually set foot in the first Baptist church built by slaves (who worked 12 hour days out in the field and continued to work throughout the night to build this church) in the 1700s has truly been one of THEE most humbling things I've ever experienced in my life...I'm forever grateful for my ancestors, however there's something to be... More 

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Toronto, Canada
Top Contributor
62 reviews 62 reviews
27 attraction reviews
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 22, 2015 NEW

This tour is about the African American experience in Savannah Georgia. The Historian, Jamal, is extremely knowledgeable in the history of his city and the people that helped to shape its existence. My husband said that Jamal reminded him of a young Little Richard and we were amazed at his encyclopedic knowledge of his subject matter. This tour takes approximately... More 

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Hawkins, Texas
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
5 attraction reviews
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 14, 2015

Being a retired educator in the south, my husband and I are interested in other cultures and their history. We decided to go to church here one Sunday morning. The history of this church is fascinating and one needs to read about it before entering in order to fully appreciate this experience. We were warmly met at the door by... More 

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New York City
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
18 attraction reviews
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 13, 2015

They showed where the underground railroad escaping slaves hid in the basement and the airholes in the basement floor for breathing . Alot of history of how slaves and freed men built this church. Inscriptions on the side of the seating with symbols that they are still trying to decipher.

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Tucson, Arizona
Top Contributor
178 reviews 178 reviews
48 attraction reviews
71 helpful votes 71 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 12, 2015

Well, we happened upon this place by accident. We also walked in and down the steps. We found out that they have a guided tour which we observed and listened to. There is a fee for that. Look for the basement and the slats in the floor. That is where the underground room was for the Blacks going through the... More 

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Mt Airy NC
Top Contributor
165 reviews 165 reviews
42 attraction reviews
57 helpful votes 57 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 10, 2015

"You have to take a tour to go into the church". Is the first thing we heard. Well, we didn't want to spend an hour there nor did we want to join a large group of young girls for the lecture. So we opted to stick our head in and get just a peek. I'm glad that I saw the... More 

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