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First African Baptist Church

Certificate of Excellence
Neighborhood: Downtown
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Address: 23 Montgomery Street, Savannah, GA 31401
Phone Number: +1 912-233-6597
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Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Fee: Yes

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

Read all 514 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 392
  • 88
    Very good
  • 23
  • 6
  • 5
An living historic church

It takes a little planning to get to see this church, but it is worth the effort. Since this is a living, active church community, their priority is not with tours. That is a good... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed 1 week ago
Garden Grove, California

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514 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Garden Grove, California
Level Contributor
11 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago NEW

It takes a little planning to get to see this church, but it is worth the effort. Since this is a living, active church community, their priority is not with tours. That is a good thing from my perspective. Tiffany, however, gave us an excellent and informative tour and helped us to see the active ministry that is still going... More 

Thank doug03555
Casselberry, Florida
Level Contributor
25 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

This tour takes you back in time! Erica and Tiffany were both tour guides on our tour and did an amazing job describing the history behind the church. The part of the tour about the slaves was incredible! Actual holes in the floor are still there where the slaves were hidden beneath. Codes in the ceiling and on the pews... More 

1 Thank Lisa S
Annapolis, Maryland
Level Contributor
256 reviews
68 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago

We would have loved to see the inside of this church but it was MLK weekend and they were closed to tours until Monday. Read the plaques and looked at the outside. Would definitely try to see the inside the next time.

Thank SMF2_On-The-Go
Hope, Maine
Level Contributor
56 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago

We went on a tour with Johnny Brown (Black History Tours); he is extremely gracious and truly knowledgeable about the history of Savannah and took us into the church as well as touring us about the city and showing us places with black history. The church is beautiful and a very special place. The karma is amazing. Enjoy.

Thank Sonia T
Alexandria, VA
Level Contributor
1,150 reviews
559 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 409 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago

First African Baptist has a rich history of ministry in the Savannah area. Its building is magnificent with its steeple pulling your eyes to the heavens for a refocusing on that which is most important in life. The sanctuary is inviting and engaging. The well-maintained pews face an impressive pulpit and two full length stain glass windows with pictures of... More 

Thank jeffl499
Savannah, Georgia
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 attraction reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 weeks ago

This is a historic site. Must attend a church service as it is beautiful.Well worth the time to tour and understand the history.

Thank tsgolf1
Mableton, Georgia
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 attraction reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Being able to walk into the church that was started by our slave ancestor was an experience to behold. The determination for spiritual healing can be felt just from walking in.

Thank B J
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
16 reviews
9 attraction reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 5 weeks ago

We found this really interesting. It's wonderful that the church is in such great condition and taken care of. When we arrive we found the church closed but saw a tour group going in so we tagged along. There is a lot to be known about the significance of the church, there are lots of details, lots of symbols and... More 

Thank Twinklesmile
Tampa, Florida
Level Contributor
9 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2015

Our knowledgeable and friendly tour guide, Erica, gave an excellent overview of the building's history and patiently answered all our questions. Amazing building, people, and culture. A must-see in Savannah.

Thank tampacubana2015
Lake Worth, Florida
Level Contributor
42 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2015

Once you can find a time to tour, because they always have cancelations for the tours. However, once you are able to get in it is awesome. The history of the church is absolutely breath-taken. Viewing the church is an opportunity of a life-time. This is something you will remember forever.

Thank DrPinder

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