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“Don't miss this church”

First African Baptist Church
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Savannah Black History Tour
Ranked #8 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.
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Don't miss this church”
Reviewed March 25, 2013

Set in what used to be the City Market area of Savannah, this simple & dignified church stands in testimony to the Africans who labored under slavery by day then turned up to build themselves a church by night. They would be proud to see this vibrant congregation & to know that tourists pay money to visit the church. I would definitely put this on the list of things to see if you want to extend your visit beyond what the white people did in our 13th colony.

Visited March 2013
Thank JCBrookline
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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772 reviews from our community

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Salt Lake City, Utah
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“An important part of Savannah history”
Reviewed March 24, 2013

We wanted to see First African Baptist Church and just happened to show up as Johnny was starting a tour so we decided to join in and I'm glad we did. This tour was a good reality check after seeing some of the other notable buildings in the city.To learn of the sacrifices made by the enslaved blacks to build this church was very moving and the pride that our guide took in the role this congregation played through history was evident. Although the church building itself is not obviously "grand", it is certainly rich in spirit. Johnny was an excellent guide. The tour was about an hour in length.

Visited March 2013
Thank HPL1352
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bethesda, Maryland
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Important to understanding the "other" Savannah”
Reviewed March 23, 2013

Savannah is a great place to visit! Most guide books and other information sources are more than a little shy on information about the presence of African-Americans in Savannah's history. Our outstanding guide, Johnny, took us through a one-hour tour of the church, its remarkable history, and its importance in the larger picture of the history of Savannah. It was very illuminating to learn about the contributions of African-Americans (I am not one) to the vitality and economy of the city and region. Without them, it wouldn't have been what it was, or what it is today. Highly recommend the Savannah guide book by Ellis Garvin. It isn't polemical or biased in any way, and it provides a lot of "hidden" history from another point of view.

Visited March 2013
Thank David_S41003
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“First African Baptist Church”
Reviewed February 28, 2013

Great historical site. First brick building built by blacks in Savannah. Ventilation holes in the basement of the church where slaves hid in crawlspaces towards the underground railroad. Stained glass with early founders of the church and old wooden pews are nice.

Very quick tour. Not a lot to see but worth the watch. May not be readily wheelchair accessible.

Visited February 2013
Thank michaelAsh2008
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manteo, North Carolina
Level 5 Contributor
92 reviews
39 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“Inspirational visit”
Reviewed February 27, 2013

We enjoyed visiting the First African Baptist Church. We were given an hour tour by an informed member of the congregation. We learned many interesting things about the church and its connection to the Underground Railroad.

Visited February 2013
2 Thank GRC732
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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