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“Part of the Tour”

First African Baptist Church
Ranked #9 of 218 things to do in Savannah
Certificate of Excellence
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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.
Reviewed November 2, 2011

Loved the history. It was part of our tour. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and entertaining.

Thank Sassiz1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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765 - 769 of 803 reviews

Reviewed October 23, 2011

We showed up for the 11 am tour only to be told that the guide hadn't shown up and they didn't think he would show up for the 2 pm either. Not a great way to run a tour service. Luckily, there was a bus tour from out of town in the Church who welcomed us to sit in while they viewed the Church, so we got the information anyhow. The Church is well worth seeing, but you'll need a guide, so maybe call ahead to make sure the Church is actually offering the tour before you head there.

Thank Portnoff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 16, 2011

This church is a very interesting building with a great history. Known as the first african baptist church and a part of the underground railroad. There are little holes in the floor boards so the people who were hiding here as part of the underground railroad would have fresh air to breathe. They have certain times of the day they offer tours and there is a small fee.

1  Thank dt3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 6, 2011

Best $5 you'll EVER spend! This quiet little church holds a treasure trove of rich history, from being bought by slaves to being an active stop on the underground railroad and much, much more. Unfortunately tour times are infrequent, so check their website for times. Johnny was our tourguide & he was very knowledgeable and friendly. The tour lasted about one hour, but he was willing to answer any questions afterwards. This church is a must-see for all you history-buffs & people wanting to immerse themselves in Savannah's history!

1  Thank Annalise123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 30, 2011

One of the most interesting and touching tours we have ever done. The doors opened at 11:00 and the young tour director "Johnny", greeted the crowd with the most sincere welcome I have ever seen. He knew so much about the church history, how it started, the pastors and how the slaves helped built the church. It was so interesting that we would have stayed there for another hour just listening to him talk. The church itself is beautiful and sitting on those upstairs pews had such meaning. However, what impressed us the most was learning that beneath the lower auditorium floor is another finished subfloor which is known as the “Underground Railroad". We left the church with such sadness, but at the same time with so much new knowledge.

1  Thank lovemytraveling
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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