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First African Baptist Church

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Address: 23 Montgomery St, Savannah, GA 31401-2429
Phone Number: +1 912-233-6597
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 593 reviews
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  • 448
  • 99
    Very good
  • 25
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  • 7
It will give you chills, make you think and inspire you

It will give you chills, make you think and inspire you. This is by far one of the most outstanding historical places you can visit in Savannah. This little church is the oldest... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed 2 weeks ago
Elizabeth A
Inverness, Florida
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593 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 584: English reviews
Inverness, Florida
Level Contributor
171 reviews
59 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago

It will give you chills, make you think and inspire you. This is by far one of the most outstanding historical places you can visit in Savannah. This little church is the oldest Black congregation in North America dating back to 1773. This old building was a stop on the underground railroad and will open your eyes when you see... More 

Thank Elizabeth A
Syracuse, NY
Level Contributor
184 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 153 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Our tour guide was wonderfully informative of the incredible history of this great church. She is a high school history teacher and an incredible asset to the community. She could not have been better. When you contemplate the history of a facility built by volunteers, protected those on the underground railroad, but never lost its focus on God and man's... More 

Thank NeedSomeSunNow
Bangkok, Thailand
Level Contributor
87 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

Nice tour of a simple looking church, that's very old and historical. Tour guide was knowledgable and spirited. Interesting link to Underground Railroad. Located on a nice square.

Thank CDNFamilyTravellers
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago

This is the foundation of the first formal edifice for African Americans. History that is missing from American "history" books and journals. A monument meant to reflect our spirituality.

Thank Bethany5Fayetteville
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

Visited yesterday and it was an awesome experience. The tour guide was very knowledgeable. From the time you walk through the red doors of the church you knew there was lots of history inside. I've always heard about the Underground Railroad but to hear about it and to see first hand how the church was involved gave me a better... More 

Thank Jennifer G
Hiram, Georgia
Level Contributor
153 reviews
64 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 23, 2016 via mobile

I have been to Savannah many times. And every time I try to come here the tour is closed. This time we were very lucky to get a personal tour. The history here is sad, but amazing. Seeing everything up close and personal gives you a whole new perspective on how the slaves were treated and where they lived. The... More 

Thank horrormovies122
Augusta, GA
Level Contributor
19 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2016

Learned a bit of interesting history about this venue. The hosts were very knowledgeable and were very open for questions.

Thank bitty604
Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
32 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2016

Loved hearing the history of the church and seeing the Ethiopian crosses in the church floor. It solidifies the beauty of our history.

Thank Kicka1213
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2016

It was so cool to see so much well preserved history. From carvings to original lighting to historic glass, this place was a great value for the visit. Plan ahead for parking or you're paying! Worth the money!

Thank Steffanie P
springfield mo
Level Contributor
3 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2016

The tour and guide at this church is replete with history. Really remarkable to think of the underground railroad and how hard people worked for their freedom. Was our last stop in Savannah, and we were so glad we went. Be sure to visit the adjacent square, where Haitian soldiers are honored. Our guide was wonderful and answered many questions.... More 

Thank jeani2

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