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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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Date | Rating
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English first
Texas
Top Contributor
98 reviews 98 reviews
57 attraction reviews
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 15, 2014 NEW

Not only is the structure and building impressive but the history is so interesting. We had a wonderful tour given by an extremely knowledgeable historian and guide to the church. I believe it to be a must see!

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Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2014

This church still has many original qualities from it's inception. The red doors have meaning and to learn the history is to love the history. The preservation of the this wonderful spiritual building shows an example of appreciation to all religions that are part of our communities. I recommend that you get a tour guide so that you are provided... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
West Bloomfield, Michigan
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
14 attraction reviews
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2014

Take the tour. The history of this church is very interesting. With the tour you learn all about this church. I am not an African-American, but I enjoy history and this place is loaded with it. Everyone should take this tour, and if you are an African-American visiting Savannah you MUST take the tour.

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Brea, CA
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
6 attraction reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2014

We visited this Church and received an amazing history lesson the young years of this church and the underground railroad. The young man gave us so much information and made it very exciting to listen and learn. I HIGHLY recommend this tour. Very reasonable price.

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Macon, Georgia
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
11 attraction reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 7, 2014

The quality of your guide will drive the enjoyment of this tour. Fascinating that the church was built by Blacks for themselves, potentially used on the Underground Railroad.

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Raleigh, North Carolina
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 5, 2014

Lots of important history here. Very Satisfying experience. Especially enjoyed all of the historical documents and artifacts they have retained over the years. One of the best attractions I have visited in Savannah.

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Hilton Head, South Carolina
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
4 attraction reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 5, 2014

Oldest operating African American Church in U.S. The church has an amazing history. We especially liked being able to see the archived history of the church and hearing the history of the church.

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Stone Mountain, Georgia
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2014

The tour guide was very informative and it was evident that she had a passion for the church. Although the tour was not very interactive, she captivated me with her stories about how the church was a safe haven for slaves.

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Detroit, Michigan
Top Contributor
102 reviews 102 reviews
5 attraction reviews
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2014

Founded in 1773 this Church is a must see if you are in the historical district! I don't want to say more or I will spoil the fun!

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Union, New Jersey
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2014

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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