First African Baptist Church

First African Baptist Church, Savannah

First African Baptist Church

First African Baptist Church
4.5
Tuesday
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Friday
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
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About
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.
Suggested duration
< 1 hour
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What is Travelers’ Choice?
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.5
1,183 reviews
Excellent
968
Very good
156
Average
40
Poor
11
Terrible
8

MarsOrbiter
Winston-Salem, NC147 contributions
Apr 2022
The church has a tour once a day at 1 PM (it actually begins at 1:10 PM to give people time to pay and be seated). Our guide / presenter was a long-time member and gave a very entertaining and humorous overview of the church beginnings and history. It lasts about an hour and gives insight into the indomitable spirit and determination of the slaves who built the church after already working hard and long during the day.
Written May 6, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

zydac
Brooklyn, NY76 contributions
Apr 2022
Great history of the church, it's creation, the people involved and what they had to go through. Karen was a great guide who has done a lot of research into the historical records of Savannah and has great skill at communicating the history with clarity as well as emotion. We were completely captivated and moved by her stories and could have listened to her for much longer. Savannah is a beautiful and charming city but I think it is important to learn about the human misery that paid for it. I don't think it detracts from the city to acknowledge its real history, what detracts from Savannah is the general lack of acknowledgement anywhere in the city.
Written April 27, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Mike M
Jersey City, NJ1 contribution
Jan 2020
The tour was one of my favorites when I visited Savannah. You're taken back in time as you listen to stories of the Underground Railroad and walk through the halls of the church. Everything is well kept and each detail is pointed out to you. Finally, I loved our guide. He was so hospitable, friendly, and informative. You could tell he was passionate about sharing his stories with the group.
Written December 31, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

wurldviews
Savannah, GA5 contributions
Jun 2022 • Solo
There is a tour once a day, on weekdays, at 1pm. You should arrive 10 minutes before because lots of people line up outside the red front doors. It’s $15 for a tour full of history and laughs. I’m a teacher and a history lover, but this was made to be fun and entertaining, while also being full of information. You have to visit the First African Baptist Church while you’re in Savannah!
Written June 16, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Karson B
2 contributions
Jul 2021 • Couples
The tour wasn’t totally what I expected but I’m grateful for that. When we booked the tour we assumed it was going to talk about an older building and maybe about the MLK speech. That was enough from our perspective.

Among other things, it ended up being an interesting tour that explained how the building helped with the Underground Railroad and what it took for the building to be built. It discussed the leaders of the church and who has visited or been baptized there. It was built with a purpose and there were real sacrifices to make it happen, and that story made it the most interesting tour of my trip. I don’t want to give away more than that regarding what they discuss.

Our tour guide remembered who we were and where we were from just from his introduction. He was great at making the story interesting and captivating. He asked us questions and helped us remember key information. I’m grateful for the experience and being able to see that side of history and of Savannah. You will not regret going on this tour.
Written July 12, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Journeying_Jean
Boston, MA162 contributions
May 2022 • Solo
I was looking forward to this tour and scheduled my other activities around it, but i was disappointed. What should have been a 30-minute tour lasted more than 1 1/2 hours (including check-in) and there was no good escape. They would do well to come up with a concise, standardized presentation enriched with some effective stories and ask guides to stick largely to the script, rather than meandering and pointless asides about why the guide doesn't tell anyone his real name (although he asks some guests for their last names), why if you want to take photos you should include yourselves, about security cameras, a routine audit underway that day, the lack of slave history on the bus tours, and famous guests. Do yourself a favor, save time and money, and just read the history in their website instead. It's too bad because it's a history that should be told.
Written May 16, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

2TravellingDINKS
Fort Lauderdale, FL63 contributions
Mar 2020 • Couples
Tillman presented the history of the church as well as those involved in building it. An amazing gem that details the positive outcomes of what happens when people with a purpose and common goal come together to change history. Built in 1859, this church played a huge part in so many peoples lives, including those that visit today. When in Savannah, stop by for a tour and see and hear a part of history that many people in Savannah don’t speak of.
Written March 10, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

MrsMicgoo
Haubstadt, IN27 contributions
Feb 2020
This was the first trip to Savannah for my husband and me. Upon the recommendation of the concierge where we were staying, we decided to schedule a tour of the First African Baptist Church. Tours must be scheduled ahead of time, and you can do so online. If you want to learn about the history of the oldest black congregation in the US (and the amazing story of how the church began and was built) then this tour is for you. The church has archives and documents dating to the 1700s. The tour guide we had filled in at the last minute due to an unforeseen absence of the usual guide, but you would have never known she didn't do the tour every day. She was a member of the church and very informed of the roles the church leadership played in our nation's history. I was most intrigued by the story of the Underground Railroad and how this church played a part in it. Don't miss this historical gem when you are touring Savannah!
Written March 6, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

elyette
Seattle, WA172 contributions
Nov 2021
Joseph was our guide to this church which was the first African American church built in this country. He was most engaging. He asked us questions and made us think. We saw history in a new way. He had his facts down. As white lady from White Washington State, I had no idea about black history in Savannah, GA. The vast majority of Savannah tours focus on eating, drinking and shopping. I can do that at home. Thank goodness for this tour. I got to learn about African American history in Savannah. It made a difference seeing what the African Americans built and how the church played a big role in local history. I am grateful that Joseph gave us facts to fill the void. My six friends who span the U.S. said the same thing.
Written November 15, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

tdl253
Florence, SC61 contributions
Jan 2020 • Friends
I visited the Church on a Saturday with friends. In addition, there were a number of Brownie Scouts in attendance. DeEric was our guide and did a fantastic job/talk from beginning to end about the history of the Church. He made his talk interesting, clear and concise to the young Scouts. I sat in awe over how committed the slaves were to their faith. Their determination and perseverance toward building their own place of worship is completely worth the a trip to the church. The sanctuary was under reconstruction when I was there, but I am told it is quite beautiful. Not sure when it will be completed. $10.00 charge for the tour.
Written January 12, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about First African Baptist Church

First African Baptist Church is open:
  • Sun - Sun 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
  • Tue - Sat 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
  • Tue - Sat 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
  • Tue - Sat 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Buy tickets in advance on Tripadvisor. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel at least 24 hours before the start date of your tour for a full refund.

We recommend booking First African Baptist Church tours ahead of time to secure your spot. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel up to 24 hours before your tour starts for a full refund. See all 2 First African Baptist Church tours on Tripadvisor