We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Outstanding tour, part of underground railroad” 5 of 5 stars
Review of First African Baptist Church

First African Baptist Church
23 Montgomery Street, Savannah, GA 31401 (Downtown)
+1 912-233-6597
Website
Improve this listing
Ranked #8 of 100 Attractions in Savannah
Type: Religious Sites, Cultural
Activities: Group tours/walking tour
More attraction details
Attraction details
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 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.
A TripAdvisor Member
“Outstanding tour, part of underground railroad”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 10, 2006

Best tour we had all week, very inexpensive, and a very different experience. Awesome tour hostess. She gave us an in-depth history lesson about slavery and the role of the church. While small, the museum has an incredible collection of handwritten documents, photos, and items from the 1800s. Check out the handmade quilts and the history behind the designs. Fascinating tour of the original part of the church with handmade pews, and floors with holes in tribal designs that were actually air holes for the underground railroad. Especially great tour for our older Girl Scouts who are studying American history this year, they had a lot of questions. I had goosebumps the whole time. No, we are not African-American, but I wanted the girls to learn about this significant culture in Savannah. We are richer for the experience.

Was this review helpful? Yes 13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

356 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    275
    61
    13
    4
    3
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
A TripAdvisor Member
“original pews built by slaves”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 4, 2003

This church, which was built by slaves, was used as a part of the "underground railroad" during the Civil War. The holes in the flooring (air holes) are still in existance. The holes form a design, which probably led others to believe it composed a tribal symbol. Upstairs in the balcony are some of the original pews made by slaves. On the sides of the pews, the tribal symbol of the slave who made the pew can be found. Slaves made the bricks for the church and built the church after laboring in the fields all day. This church is truly a marvel, and houses a small museum which one should also visit.

Was this review helpful? Yes 28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed First African Baptist Church also viewed

 

Been to First African Baptist Church? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage First African Baptist Church, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.