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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
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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Amazing piece of history

Don't leave Savannnah without this tour! The majority of this church is original. Our tour guide, Erika was perfect! She gave us so much information about the church and how it... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed August 29, 2015
Tracy G
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454 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 29, 2015 NEW

Don't leave Savannnah without this tour! The majority of this church is original. Our tour guide, Erika was perfect! She gave us so much information about the church and how it was built and how things were during the time it was built.

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Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
15 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2015 NEW

Went to the church on a Saturday afternoon and was told to come back later for a 2pm tour. Apparently tours are done at 11 and 2 and are $7.00. We were hoping to learn more about the Underground Railroad but instead was given a lecture about the history of the church and the pastors. Several people in the audience... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Collingdale, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
19 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2015 NEW

my visit was emotional because I had some family members tell stories of this church. It was amazing to touch and feel it a part of history.

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Birmingham, Alabama
Level Contributor
33 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2015 NEW

This was the BEST TOUR I've taken in Savannah! Our tour guide was amazing and gave a great narration of the sacrifice given to build this church. I'll never forget that this church was built by slaves at night after a hard days work and the imbedded symbols & signs to inform those seeking freedom that this church was a... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
South Carolina
Level Contributor
136 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 23, 2015

What a gorgeous and historic church this is. Sad the outside stain glass has to be covered for protection because the glass is so beautiful. Tours are at 11 and 2 Tuesday-Saturday, so time your visit accordingly. What a beautiful place and if you're into history, don't miss it.

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Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
9 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2015

Our tour guide told us the very interesting history of this church, how its member built it at night because, being slaves, they had to work for their owners during the day. I would like to go back sometime and see the interior of this church, maybe even attend a service. This is an amazing building.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
fairfield county, ct
Level Contributor
39 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2015

In a town where parking is at a premium, you can park in the church's lot for a mere $10. A bargain if you can't find parking on the street.

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Monroe, Michigan
Level Contributor
96 reviews
59 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2015

First I would like to say I would of given five stars but I didn't get to see the inside. The History is outstanding, the feeling surrounding the church is powerful. I have seen and been to a lot of churches and this one has the most impressive history I have ever heard. The fact it was built by bonfire... More 

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Independence, Kansas
Level Contributor
21 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2015

A nice piece of history to see. Did not get to go inside but did hear about the history and got to see the outside. A good place to visit.

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Raleigh, NC
Level Contributor
39 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2015

I visited this church while on the Freedom Trail Tour with Johnnie Brown. The First African Baptist Church was one of the stops on the tour. I learned so much especially about that fact that his church was used a safe haven for slaves as the Underground Railroad.

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