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First African Baptist Church

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Address: 23 Montgomery Street, Savannah, GA 31401
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

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Put This on Your To Do List

This is one of those places that I have always wanted to go but have never been able to fit it in the schedule. We made the time this trip and I am glad that we did. Our tour... read more

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed yesterday
Jeff C
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639 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 630: English reviews
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW

This is one of those places that I have always wanted to go but have never been able to fit it in the schedule. We made the time this trip and I am glad that we did. Our tour guide was a teacher and she did an excellent job. This place has quite a history that everyone who visits Savannah... More 

Thank Jeff C
Bluffton, South Carolina
Level Contributor
119 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

We had a group of 9 to do the tour of the historical First African Baptist Church. The tour with Reverend George as our guide. He made the audience a part of his presentation and he added humor. He was also serious in the presentation when needed. The building, furnishings, organ and so much more have an abundance of history... More 

Thank retiredpat
Coastal South Carolina, South Carolina
Level Contributor
142 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

Our church group visited today and Reverend George was our guide. Rev George shared over an hour of church history with us and twenty other visitors. For someone who normally doesn't do tours, he was fantastic. He has a cheery outgoing personality which added to his extensive knowledge of the church history. The church began in 1777 worshipping in different... More 

Thank TennesseeDaisy
Level Contributor
25 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

This place really touched my soul as you could see marking on the side of the pews. The pipe organ still stands as well as the pulpit,benches and flooring .Was told it was made out of Gopher wood and hence the holes in the floor to allow it to breath, not for the slaves to breath as commonly told on... More 

Thank Rose K
Level Contributor
46 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

Loved walking threw the historic district admiring all the beautiful churches along the way and discovering all the many Squares of Savannah. This church was located at Franklin Square. Love to take pictures of these beautiful sites. Did not get to attend a service here. Sounds beautiful. What amazing history.

Thank Daisy C
Warner Robins, Georgia
Level Contributor
9 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

Took a weekend trip with a friend. We're both history nuts. The church is beautiful so much detail still exists from its original days .Our tour guide was awesome and knowledgeable of the history of the church and the history of the underground railroad. Just wish we could of seen the actual area where the slaves hide in.It's well worth... More 

Thank Jusagagirl
charlotte nc
Level Contributor
56 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

This is a must see in Savannah for anyone with even a passing interest in history. Joe led us through the history of the church. From the forming of the congregation to the construction of the current church. His ability to tie the threads of history together takes you on a journey that is an emotional experience. Please don't miss... More 

Thank Tina D
Jacksonville, Florida
2 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

The African Baptist Church (organized in 1773) is proud of its heritage and anyone can see why. The sanctuary contains many historical elements from its rich history: stained-glass windows, 1832 pipe organ, and original pews. As a Civil War reenactor and author, I have an appreciation of this remarkable landmark and stories about the Underground Railroad with accounts of how... More 

Thank BestWay2Travel
Savannah, Georgia
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

I live here in Savannah and decided to take the Freedom Trail Tour with my family visiting from New York. We learned so much and this church was part of the tour. Really enjoyed myself!

Thank neogr9
Sutton Coldfield, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
784 reviews
310 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 134 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

Around the world particularly in great European cities the church/cathedral is a demonstration of wealth This church really gives a different perspective of a time when people had the same religious beliefs but little else in common This church is built in poverty by great people who lived in different times

Thank Peter W

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